Brazil Condemned for Allowing Abortions on Disabled Babies

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 17, 2012   |   3:19PM   |   Washington, DC

The Catholic South American nation of Brazil is coming under criticism for altering its pro-life laws to allow abortions in very rare cases when the unborn child has anencephaly, the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull.

Reports indicate 8 of the 11 justices on the nation’s Supreme Court voted to allow abortions in those extremely rare circumstances while two voted to keep the nation’s abortion law more fully pro-life and one justice recused himself. As Fox News indicates:

One of the two “no” votes was cast by Chief Justice Cezar Peluso, who predicted the decision would lead to a “massacre” of anencephalic fetuses.

Until now, Brazil has permitted abortions only in cases of rape or a threat to the life of the mother. A woman who terminates a pregnancy under any other circumstances faces up to three years in prison, while the doctor who performs the procedure can be jailed for four years.

Chief federal prosecutor Roberto Gurgel presented to the court an advisory document in support of decriminalizing abortion in cases of anencephaly. The high court’s ruling came in response to a suit filed in 2004 by the National Confede

ration of Health Workers, which said that denying the option of termination to a woman carrying an anencephalic fetus violated the mother’s right to dignity.

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Piero Tozzi responded to the decision to allow, what he calls, Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal’s decision to “decriminalize the killing of pre-born children for eugenic reasons.”

“Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Instead, Brazil’s high court has approved of slaughtering the country’s most vulnerable people, the severely disabled. Eugenic abortion further erodes respect not only for human dignity in general, but the dignity of the disabled in particular. Protecting the innocent is a chief duty of the legislature, and the court was wrong to overstep its authority and tear down the protections long ago established by Brazil’s lawmakers–protections that are consistent with the pro-life views of most Brazilians.”