by Steven Ertelt
November 23, 2005
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — As Brazil begins debate today on legislation that would change its laws prohibiting abortions, Pope Benedict XVI has called on pro-life advocates in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation to step up to the plate to defend life.
During a meeting with Brazilian bishops, the Pope made a special plea for them to lead the fight against the legislation.
Bishop Odilo Pedro Scherer, secretary-general of the Brazil Catholic Conference, said the meeting with the Pope showed he understand of the plans to legalize abortion and was deeply troubled.
"Pope Benedict XVI asked us details of the drafts that are being analyzed," said Bishop Scherer, as reported by the newspaper Correio Brasiliense. He said the Holy Father "considered the general liberalization serious, especially under the pretext that it is a right of woman."
Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies’ Commission for Social Security and the Family begins hearings today on legislation to legalize abortion. The legislation would make abortion legal up to 12 weeks into pregnancy and up to 20 weeks in cases of rape or incest.
Once the parliamentary hearing in Brasilia, the capital, has concluded, a vote could take place any day, according to a Zenit report.
Brazil’s bishops have strenuously fought the legislation. Earlier this month, they called the measure "a frontal attack on the basic right of every human being: the right to be born."
"This violation concerns other human rights, leads to the erosion of the social and juridical order and opens the way to endless moral disorders," they said.
The bishops’ conference stressed that "it is not admissible that a proposal of law dare to permit the elimination of an innocent and defenseless human being. In this way, talk about human rights becomes incoherent, as the defense of other rights is contradicted by denying the primordial right to be born and to live."