Brazilian Health Minister Gives False Testimony in Eugenic Abortion Case

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BRASILIA, September 5, 2008 ( - In defending eugenic abortions before the nation’s highest court, Brazilian Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao claimed that the test to detect an anencephalic pregnancy is "100% accurate", according to local news reports.

"According to Temporao, public and private hospitals have the technical capacity to diagnose the absence of the brain with 100% certainty with a simple sonogram," reported O Globo.

However, that testimony is contradicted by the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association, which says that "misdiagnoses of infants as anencephalic have been documented in the medical literature and detected by surveillance programs."

Anencephaly is a condition in which the upper brain and skull do not develop completely in the womb. Some doctors theorize that the remaining neural cells that do develop could provide consciousness to the child.

Temporao’s claim comes on the heels of a disagreement among doctors over the famous case of Marecela Ferreira, a Brazilian child who lived with anencephaly for a year and a half, and showed signs of consciousness.

Noting that doctors still can’t agree if Marcela, who died outside the womb, was really anencephalic, representative Luiz Bassuma of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies recently asked, "Would it be possible to have certainty about the diagnosis when the fetus is still within the uterus of the mother?"

Temporao, who has long promoted abortion and abortifacient contraception as Minister of Health in the socialist administration of Luiz Lula da Silva, was among several government officials and experts testifying before the Brazilian Supreme Court on the constitutionality of abortions for anencephalic babies.

Other witnesses included Osvaldo Gomes, an attorney with the Pro-Life Group, who denied the claim made by other witnesses that the short life span of "anencephalic" babies justifies terminating their life in the womb.

"‘Therapeutic anticipation of birth’ is a euphemism hiding a despicable crime, which is the crime of abortion," he told the court.  "We would have to frame the question in terms of the length of life.  If it’s going to die later, one second, one minute, for us it is life, and therefore there exists the hope of life.  The expectation of having a child that is going to die doesn’t justify eliminating that life before birth."

Leda Verreschi, a doctor representing the Association for Family Development, said that killing anencephalic babies in their mothers’ wombs would represent "a regression of society to barbarism" and added that "in the intolerance of those who are imperfect, we will lose the capacity to love, which diminishes the human person."

The court will continue to hear testimony on September 16th.   A verdict will be rendered in November.

Previous coverage:

Catholic Bishops Denounce Attempt to Legalize Eugenic Abortion in Brazil

Brazilian Supreme Court Hears Testimony on Eugenic Abortions

Brazilian Anencephalic Baby Shatters Pro-Abortion Myths

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