April 20, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the wake of a decision by the nation’s Supreme Federal Tribunal determining that babies suffering from the birth defect known as anencephaly aren’t “legally” alive, and therefore can be freely aborted, Brazilian doctors are explaining to the media how such babies will in fact be killed under the new legal regime.
In a recent interview with Brazil’s most popular news magazine, Veja, the Vice-President of the Federal Council on Medicine, Dr. Carlos Vital, explained that doctors will have two choices: either “curettage” or “aspiration.”
Abortions of ancephalic babies will be performed in the second or third trimester.
A curettage abortion uses a loop-shaped knife to cut the child to pieces, and then scrape his body and placenta from the uterine wall. An aspiration abortion uses powerful suction to tear the child apart, and likewise separate him from his mother.
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According to doctors, if these methods are inadequate in later term abortions, Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) would be required, involving a clamp that is used to tear apart the baby’s larger body. Dr. Vital told Veja that abortions on anencephalic children could be performed up to the ninth month of pregnancy.
Dr. Vital added that such abortions will require a committee of doctors to determine the proper “criteria for diagnosis” of anencephaly, a condition whose exact definition is not agreed upon by physicians.
Anencephalic babies fail to develop the top parts of their heads, including the skull and upper brain. Most die in the womb or shortly after birth, although some have lived for days, months, and even years with the condition.
Although medical professionals often claim that such children are unaware of their surroundings and unable to suffer, parents of anencephalic babies report that their children show signs of awareness and seem to react in very specific ways to their environment. Some doctors theorize that the brain stem of such infants is able to adapt to the needs of rudimentary awareness, a phenomenon known as “neuroplasticity.”
In the United States, an estimated 95 percent of anencephalic babies are killed inside their mother’s womb.
In a public statement on the Supreme Federal Tribual’s decision, Brazilian pro-life activist Fr. Luis Lodi da Cruz called the verdict “monstrous” and noted that, according to the Tribunal minister who oversaw the case, the abortion of an anencephalic child “is a procedure similar to removing a cadaver.”
“Paradoxically, [Minister] Marco Aurélio admits that the anencephalic dies in a short period of time. Tell me, how can he die if he’s already dead?” asked Lodi da Cruz.