By Patrick B. Craine
July 8, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Society for the Protection of the Unborn (SPUC), a U.K.-based pro-life organization, is calling on pro-life supporters worldwide to lobby in support of a bill being considered today in Brazil to stop infanticide among the indigenous people.
Infanticide is a traditional practice among certain tribes of Brazil, who believe that some babies are 'cursed,' including those with physical disabilities, females, babies born out of wedlock, and twins or triplets.
The bill, called Muwaji's Law, written by Congressman Henrique Afonso, would declare infanticide harmful, require those who are aware of pregnancies and babies at risk to report it, and would also commit the government to adopting measures to eradicate the practice.
Tribal infanticide is a contested issue in Brazil, being supported by those who believe foreign moral values should not be imposed on indigenous cultures. In 2007, LifeSiteNews reported that a Brazilian anthropology professor defended the practice of infanticide, saying, “This is their way of life and we should not judge them on the basis of our values. The difference between the cultures should be respected.”
In their campaign alert, SPUC calls on pro-lifers to contest this relativistic approach. “If certain cultural traditions threaten life – a basic right for every human being, regardless of race,” they say, “then culture must yield.”
Further, they assert that the law will have a positive rather than a negative impact on indigenous cultures. “Muwaji's Law does not threaten native cultures,” they say. “It simply promotes the idea of educating the tribes about options for the family other than infanticide.”
The 2007 LSN article also quoted the bill's author, Congressman Afonso in an address he made to the President and Brazilian Congress defending the law. “The practice of infanticide is not justified,” he said, “however much anthropologists wish to defend tradition and cultural practices of certain peoples. The number of sacrificed children per year in this country is far from few; victims of a cultural practice that many times is more important than the most fundamental human instinct: Preserving life itself.”
SPUC is asking, on behalf of pro-life leaders in Latin America, that pro-life supporters lobby in favor of the bill by e-mailing a brief message to the representatives of Brazil's Human Rights Commission, calling on them to support Muwaji's Law. See SPUC's campaign alert here for more information.
To contact the representatives:
Mr. Dom Dimas Lara Barbosa
President of CNBB
Congressman Luiz Couto
President of the Human Rights Commission
Congressman Chico Alencar
Representative from Rio de Janeiro
SPUC's Campaign Alert:
SPUC Director John Smeaton's blog on this issue:
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Anthropology Professor says Tribal Killing of Disabled Babies Should be Respected
The Indian Child who was Buried Alive