Catholic Bishops Denounce Attempt to Legalize Eugenic Abortion in Brazil

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  BRASILIA, August 22, 2008 ( - The leadership of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) has issued a statement condemning the attempt to legalize eugenic abortion in Brazil through the judicial system.

  The case, which will be heard by the Federal Supreme Tribunal of Brazil beginning August 26, will decide the constitutionality of abortions for anencephalic babies, who develop without a complete cerebrum.

  Although such babies often die in their mother’s womb or shortly after birth, some have lived for years, and have shown signs of consciousness.

  The bishops note that the term "anencephalic" (literally "without a head") is misleading, because in fact such babies often have part of their cerebrum intact, and always have some neural matter in their skulls.

  If such babies did not have brain matter, such a situation "would be completely incompatible with life, even incompatible with breathing", the bishops note.

  The diminished brain capacity of anencephalic babies, however, does "not diminish the dignity of human life in gestation" they write.

  They note that Marcela de Jesus Galante Ferreira, an anencephalic baby who died recently in the state of Sao Paulo, lived one year and eight months in her condition.

"While Marcela was alive, her pediatrician affirmed that ‘the child is very active, recognizes her mother and cries when she isn’t in her arms’", the bishops write, "Marcela is a clear example that a child, even with such a deformity, is a human being, and as such, deserves care and respect."

  As reported two months ago, Marcela Galante Ferreira’s case provides proof for a theory that has long been recognized among physicians: that brain stem cells can adapt to the absence of an upper brain and provide some degree of consciousness to an anencephalic infant (

"Even though anencephaly is listed as a lethal congenital illness, with a short lifespan, the fetuses that are afflicted with this disease must have their rights respected", the bishops state.

"Life must be protected as a gift and an obligation, even when its course is presumed to be brief.  There is an enormous ethical, moral, and spiritual difference between natural death and a death that is provoked.  The commandment applies here: ‘Thou shalt not kill’ (Ex. 20:13).

  To contact the Brazilian Embassy:

  Embassy of Brazil in the USA
  3006 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
  Washington, DC
  Phone: (202) 238-2700
  Fax: (202) 238-2827
  Email: [email protected]

  Embassy of Brazil in Canada
  450 Wilbrod Street
  Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6M8
  Phone: (613) 237-1090 or (613) 755-5160
  Fax: (613) 237-6144
  E-mail: [email protected]

  Embassies of Brazil to other Nations:

  See Previous coverage:

  Brazilian Anencephalic Baby Shatters Pro-Abortion Myths

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