by Steven Ertelt
January 26, 2005
Vatican City (LifeNews.com) — The Catholic Church is praising a pregnant woman who died recently after refusing to have cancer treatment that would have required her to have an abortion. Rita Fedrizzi gave birth to a health baby boy three months ago, but passed away this week.
The Vatican’s newspaper (L’Osservatore Romano) says the 41 year-old woman was diagnosed with cancer about the same time she discovered she was pregnant.
Though she could have had an abortion and proceeded with the cancer treatment, Church officials applauded her for "the choice of welcoming new life, even at the cost of her own death.”
"She was aware that if she gave birth she wouldn’t have had any hope of surviving," the Vatican newspaper wrote. "Despite that she went through with her choice."
The baby boy, Frederico, was born after six months of pregnancy, according to an AP report.
"Rita’s choice, which I always shared, was a choice of faith," her husband, Enrico Ferrari, told the Italian news agency ANSA. He said Fedrizzi always considered Frederico "a gift."
"Whenever someone recommended abortion as the only way to escape (death), she would say, ‘It’s as if they’re asking me to kill one of my other two children to save my skin," he said.
The Catholic newspaper compared her case with that of Gianna Beretta Molla, who died in 1962. Molla refused to have an abortion despite warnings from doctors that opting against it could take her life.
Molla, an Italian pediatrician, had developed a tumor in her uterus, but she refused to have an abortion. Reports quote Molla telling doctors, "If a decision must be made between my life and the child’s, don’t hesitate. I insist you choose the child’s. Save it."
Pope John Paul II made Molla a saint in 2004 and pro-life advocates have cited her as an inspiration in the fight against abortion.
Fedrizzi was the other of two other children, ages 10 and 12, according to an Associated Press report.