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Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

On the BBC recently: Brazil’s President chides a Catholic Bishop for excommunicating the mother of a young girl as well as her doctors: all for contributing to the girl’s abortion of her twin fetuses.

Seem very straightforward? Before you answer, consider that:

  • The young girl’s conception was due to sexual abuse by her stepfather; and
  • The young girl is 9 years old.

Not so straightforward anymore? Under Brazil law, abortions are legal if done in the context of rape or potential health risks to the mother-to-be. In this case, both criteria were met for the young girl.

However, Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho was undeterred and said that the excommunication would apply to the doctors who performed the operation as well as the girl’s mother. The girl would not be included because she was underage.

Meanwhile the girl’s stepfather is in police custody–also suspected to have abused the young girl’s older sister.

The Church’s stand against abortion is very clear, however the context of this situation has given a lot of Catholics mixed feelings. Many feel for the doctors especially, as they were fulfilling their professional duty to safeguard the life of the young girl.

Also a nagging moral question: the excommunication spares the step-father abuser, since he did not have anything to do with the abortion, although it was his sexual abuse of his step-daughter that led to the situation.

Brazil’s President Lula could not contain his disappointment at the whole affair, and was quoted saying:

In this case, the medical profession was more right than the Church.

Does this whole situation seem so irrational, and yet consistent with the dictates of religion?

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Just as the reproductive health debate is heating up in the Philippines, the life vs. choice tussle in the U.S. is heating up as well. Pro-life parties are hitting the proposal of a new law called the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA):

The possible signing of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) by President-Elect Barack Obama would be “the equivalent of a war” an unnamed senior Vatican official recently told TIME magazine. 

The startling comments make the second time this week that a Vatican official has forthrightly and in the strongest language condemned Obama’s extreme policies on abortion.  Speaking at the Catholic University of America a few days ago, Vatican Cardinal James Stafford labeled Obama’s anti-life policies as “aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic,” also noting that, “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake” (see coverage: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08111703.html ).

Read the rest of the article here.

Although the article doesn’t add anything new to the choice vs. life debate, it does begin to wave threatening and suggestive language (e.g. “war”) and new unwarranted assertions (e.g. pro-life and Catholic health care workers are going to lose their jobs, etc.) to support its case: (more…)

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Part of our ongoing discussion on reproductive health.

One of our friends, Pinoy Law Student (p.l.s.), reported on an initiative by the Catholic Church to write its own reproductive health bill. p.l.s. offered three sentiments surrounding this issue which we partially quote:

First point. With all due respect to our prelates, there is this little provision in the Constitution also known as  separation of church and the state.

Second point. Again, with all due respect, the Catholic church – singing praises for natural family planning – has not even lifted a finger in disseminating the information that about the method that they sacrosanctly uphold.

Third point: I don’t know, but refusal of communion and other sacraments to politicians who support the bill is such a childish tactic in my opinion.

Read the rest of p.l.s. excellent critique here.

Just recently we blogged about the Vatican’s reaction to the removal of life support from a coma patient and this ongoing debate on population issue is within the same spheres of thought. The first being the definition of “life”, and the ethical approach to that definition, which covers actions such as contraception, abortion, and euthanasia. The second being the consideration of moral and social implications of those definitions and actions.

We can argue about the justice to a father by insisting that his vegetative daugther continue to live and bleed precious resources from her already cash-strapped family as much as we can argue why it is objectionable to allow sex education to be taught and guided in schools instead of children picking up their knowledge from unknown sources.

At the risk of sounding like a moral relativist, I really have to ask: in the end, what are we really arguing against if not simply tradition?

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