SANTIAGO, Chile, January 18, 2005 ( – A highly placed Vatican cardinal, Jorge Medina, has denounced efforts by pro-abortion groups to use the case of a pregnant nine-year-old girl in Chile to legalize abortion in that country. Seven nongovernmental organizations are demanding authorities submit her to an abortion. They claim in a press release that, even though the girl is just weeks away from full term and the child can be safely delivered by cesarean section, that an abortion is necessary for the girl to “avoid the life-threatening risk she faces.” 

Cardinal Medina, formerly the head of the Vatican’s office for liturgy, or Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, speaking to the daily, ‘Ultimas Noticias,’ said that both the life of the mother and the child, “must absolutely be respected.” He said, “The fact that such a young girl has become pregnant and in such terrible circumstances does not take away the right to life of the baby in her womb.”

“To take the life of that baby is a crime,” he went on. “What has happened is truly sad and she must be helped in everyway.  Of course this abuse is horrible.  It is unqualifiedly an offense against the girl’s dignity, but that does not mean that we should take the life of the only person who has no fault.”

Chile’s Health Minister, Pedro Garcia, on Friday refused to allow an abortion for the girl. After calling on Chileans to denounce the sexual abuse of children, pointed out that no human being deserves to be killed simply because of the manner of his or her conception. The girl, who has not been named is now seven months pregnant and is being cared for at Calama Hospital. 

Read Catholic News Agency coverage.