A senior Vatican cleric defended the Catholic Church of Brazil's plans to excommunicate those who aided a child pregnant as a result of rape. According to the BBC, the church plans to excommunicate the girl's mother and several doctors who helped to secure a medically necessary abortion for the girl, who is 9 years old and became pregnant with twins after being raped by her stepfather.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who leads the Church's Congregation for Bishops told an Italian newspaper that "It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated….life must always be protected, the attack on the Brazilian Church is unjustified."
Abortion is legal in Brazil only in cases of rape or when the mother's life would be endangered. Both conditions appear to have been true in this case. One of the girl's doctors, Olimpio Moraes, told Reuters that "as doctors, we could not allow a girl of 9 to suffer like this or until she paid with her own life."
The Brazilian Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao also told Reuters "I believe the position of the church is extreme, radical, and inadequate….I am shocked by the radical position of this religion which, wrongly saying it is defending a life, puts another life in danger that is as important as any other."
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