Brazilian Supreme Court Hears Testimony on Eugenic Abortions

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

SAO PAULO, August 28, 2008 ( - The Supreme Court of Brazil continued to hear testimony today from various organizations regarding eugenic abortions for anencephalic babies.

Following a previous, narrow decision to allow embryonic stem cell research, the issue was revived by a pro-abortion justice in the hope that the court was now "ready" to decide in favor of terminating the lives of unborn children at later stages of development.

Anencephalic babies are born with part or all of their upper brain missing.  Although they normally die within days of birth, some have lived for years, and their parents report that they exhibit signs of awareness, a conclusion that is supported by some doctors.

The first round of hearings on Monday included comments from religious groups and medical experts.

Father Luiz Bento, representing the Catholic Church, testified that aborting anencephalic babies is "a racist and discriminatory act" as well as being a form of "pre-natal euthanasia."

Also in attendance was Cacilda Galante Ferreira, the mother of Marcela Ferreira, an anencephalic baby who died earlier this month after a year and a half of life (see LifeSiteNews coverage at

"My relationship with her was marvelous, she was marvelous," said Ferreira.  "She would breathe, react, and smile.  I would caress her and she recognized it.  She would sense my presence and my absence."

"It never crossed my mind to interrupt the pregnancy," she added. "It wasn’t difficult to take care of her, it was a true joy.  God gave me a more than special child.  I never suffered for even a minute."

Rudolfo Nunes, a professor of Medical Science in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, testified that the very term "anencephalic" is misleading, because such babies always have some brain matter.

"Anencephaly is not the equivalent of brain death," he said.  "A child with anencephaly, when he breathes, is not in a state of brain death.  Despite the high mortality rate, some children can survive for months or even years."

"No in-depth studies exist on the part of the brain that is not compromised by anencephaly.  Many things exist that are unexplained.  For that reason, is it necessary to be prudent."

However, the court also received testimony from a pro-government sect known as the Universal Church of the Reign of God, which has a close association with the socialist Worker’s Party of President Luiz Lula da Silva, and which has a history of supporting abortion.  The leader of the group, bishop Edir Macedo, when queried about his religion’s view on abortion, asked, "Who is interested in a multitude of children without parents, without love and without anyone?"

"Catholics for the Right to Decide", an organization long-denounced by the Catholic Church for misleading the public about Catholic doctrine on abortion and other human life issues, also was invited to testify.

Today’s hearings include medical experts, scientists, and government officials.  The final hearing will be held September 4th.

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