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Brazil : Abortion in nine-year-olds - mother and doctors excommunicated

Rio de Janeiro Against the bitter resistance of the Catholic Church, Brazilian doctors aborted twins from a girl who was only nine years old in Recife. The local Archbishop José Gomes Sobrinho then announced that the doctors involved and the girl's mother had been excommunicated. The girl had been raped by her stepfather and was 15 weeks pregnant. The child's life was in danger, said the director of the Amaury de Medeiros health center at the University of Pernambuco State, Sergio Cabral, on Wednesday.

Abortion after rape is allowed in Brazil

The Catholic Church, which had initially threatened with a criminal complaint for murder against the girl's mother, declared the excommunication of all those involved. According to canon law, this is in any case the automatic consequence of an abortion. Health Minister José Gomes Temporao criticized the attitude of the church because an abortion is allowed in Brazil after rape or in high-risk pregnancies.

The 23-year-old rapist is in custody. According to media reports, he confessed to sexually abusing the girl when she was six years old. The mother, who had allowed the abortion as well as the girl, protested that she was unaware of the abuse. The nine-year-old survived the procedure physically well, said Cabral in the provincial capital Recife in northeastern Brazil. She and her mother would receive psychological support.

Catholic Church: She should have had the children

The Brazilian Catholic Church had requested that the girl carry the twins to term. The lawyer of the particularly conservative Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife, Marcio Miranda, said: "We consider this murder. The law of God is: You shall not kill." According to Sobrinho, excommunication means that those affected are no longer allowed to take part in the Lord's Supper or receive any sacraments. But they would not go to hell automatically if they "repent in good time and ask for forgiveness," said the archbishop. (jnb / dpa)

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