By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

BRASILIA, Brazil, September 29, 2010 ( – In an apparent attempt to counteract a massive pro-life internet campaign against her party, Brazilian presidential front runner Dilma Rousseff told the nation’s media today that she is a Catholic and is “personally against abortion.”

“In my conception, I am favorable to the valuing of life,” Rousseff said. “And I am personally against abortion, which is violence against a woman.”

Rousseff made the statements following a meeting with various religious and political leaders, which was organized in apparent response to the dissemination of numerous internet texts and videos criticizing her and the socialist Labor Party for supporting abortion.

“I told the pastors that, from the point of view of the presidency, there are women who have recourse to abortion and they have to be cared for,” said Rousseff, referring to the Brazilian policy of giving medical care to women who have induced abortions, despite their illegality. “We respect and value life,” she added.

Asked if her position was in conflict with that of the pro-abortion Labor Party, of which she is a member, Rousseff clarified that “the government [of the Labor Party] has always had one position. Now, we are a democratic party.”

However Rousseff also repeated the Labor Party’s public position on abortion, calling it a “public health” issue, a term commonly used by international abortionist organizations. She also said she opposed a plebiscite on the matter, which in strongly pro-life Brazil would lead almost certainly to a rejection of abortion.

Pro-life activist Julio Severo, who has strongly opposed the Labor Party’s reelection, told LifeSiteNews that Rousseff’s words indicate her “lack of ideological clarity and honesty.”

“She says that she is personally against abortion, and again emphasized that she ‘defends the treatment of abortion as an issue of public health’,” he added.

“Just like Dilma, [Brazilian President Luiz] Lula also declared himself to be a Catholic, said he was personally against abortion and defended the treatment of abortion as a public health issue,” said Severo. “In 2002, candidate Lula had also made an agreement to not allow his future government to promote abortion and homosexualism. But after his election, his government promoted abortion, at the national and international level, so much that we fear, in the best of hypotheses, that Lula had suffered some kind of attack of amnesia.”

Dilma Rousseff is widely viewed as the handpicked successor of President Luiz Lula da Silva, who, despite his pro-abortion position, is leaving office with an 80% approval rating.

Abortion is illegal in Brazil and is punished with criminal penalties in all cases except rape. Opinion polls indicate that over two-thirds of Brazilians oppose the further decriminalization of abortion.

Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Brazilian Pastor Threatened by Government for Opposing Pro-Abortion Policies