Is abortion a remedy for abuse of minors?

After watching the story of the nine-year-old Brazilian girl pregnant with twins who were aborted unfold for several weeks, the New York Times has run an on-the-spot piece -- the spot being a Sao Paulo women’s health clinic specializing in treating victims of sexual violence. One of the “treatments” offered by the Perola Byington Hospital is abortion, which the doctors there say is often necessary to protect the lives of sexual-violence victims. Of the 47 abortions carried out in the hospital last year, 13 were on girls under 18, all victims of rape.

The Times purports to be concerned about sexual abuse. Unfortunately, it does not explain how aborting babies conceived through rape -- often within the home -- will reduce the incidence of sexual abuse of young girls. If it is so easy to dispose of the evidence, wouldn’t it encourage more abuse? The Times says the problem “may be getting worse”.

The writer summarises events in an offhand and inaccurate way: “A Brazilian archbishop summarily excommunicated everyone involved — the doctors for performing the abortion and the girl’s mother for allowing it — except for the stepfather, who stands accused of raping the girl over a number of years.” The Archbishop did not “summarily excommunicate” anyone; he pointed out that those who directly procured the abortion incurred the automatic penalty under church law of excommunication. This did not fall on “everyone involved”; the archbishop specifically stated that the girl was not excommunicated.

The Times dwells on Brazil’s restrictive abortion laws and appears to want to make a case that easy access to legal abortion is the answer not only to women’s “reproductive rights” but to saving the lives of sexually abused girls. The assumption that abortion does save their lives is not questioned.

One news service did investigate the question, however. Figures provided by a pro-abortion group Grupo Curumim and derived from Brazilian government data shows that 192,445 girls from 10 to 14 years gave birth between 2000 and 2006 in Brazil (which has a population of 190 million); 105 died during pregnancy, birth or having an abortion -- 55 out of 100,000, which is lower than the average maternal mortality rate of 75 out of 100,000 for all ages in Brazil. And some of them could have died from abortion -- the statistics do not appear to specify the exact cause of death.

“The rate may be lower because such cases, being relatively uncommon, receive special attention in Brazil. Hospitals monitor such pregnancies closely, and a cesarean section can be done to protect the child from the rigors of giving birth,” says LifeSite News.

What is evident from all the news coverage of the “child from Alagoinha”s tragic story is the underlying problem of the breakdown of the family and sexual morality in Brazil, as throughout the world. But none of the leading media want to discuss that. ~ New York Times, Mar 28



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