Abortion More Serious Crime than Rape, Says Vatican

On March 4, a nine-year-old, 80-pound girl, pregnant with her stepfather’s twins, was brought into a hospital in Brazil’s northeastern city of Recife where doctors performed an abortion. The girl had been raped by the 23-year-old man, according to CNN International, who had been abusing the girl since she was six years old—and had also sexually abuse the girl’s 14-year-old handicapped sister. In Brazil, abortion is only legal in cases of rape, or where the mother’s life is in danger—both of which applied to this situation.

However, the Vatican has gone ahead and excommunicated the doctors who performed the abortions, and the mother of the girl—“everyone involved,” according to Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the region’s Archbishop—everyone, that is, except the rapist. Abortion is an excommunicable sin, but not raping the 9-year-old girl who is supposed to be in your care? Forgive me if I fail to see the justice.

Luckily, President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva has advocated for the rights of the girl. The president—who recently tossed condoms out to the Carnival crowds—has spoken out in support of the girl and the doctors, and even gone as far as to condemn the Vatican’s move, according to London’s Daily Telegraph. "As a Christian and a Catholic, I deeply regret that a bishop has had such conservative behavior," he told the paper. "In this case, medicine is more right than the Church."

Additionally, Brazilians have stepped up in the girl’s defense, petitioning online (in Portuguese) for themselves to be excommunicated in “solidarity with” the mother and the doctors.

Perhaps this is signaling a move in Brazil for more comprehensive family planning legislation. Right now, doctors in the highly Catholic country perform about 1 million abortions per year for those able to afford it, and hospitals are left to treat about 200,000 women suffering from complications after visiting clandestine clinics. Perhaps this ban on abortion is the will of the Church, and not the will of the people. It’s time for the Vatican to step back and see just how outdated their doctrines actually are; and with Spain and Brazil—two of the last Catholic strongholds left—moving towards the acceptance of abortion, maybe the Vatican will be forced to reconsider their stance. Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.

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  • invalid-0

    Where is the Catholic church’s compassion that Jesus taught? Why should a small 9 year old girl have to pay for what a sick piece of scum done to her? An 80 lb child’s body would not have been able to properly incubate or nourish one prenancy, let alone 2! I guess the Bishop felt it was better that the 9 year old die as a result of her rape than abort. Excommunicating all involved but the rapist is a real slap in the face by the church to the family and women everywhere!
    With beliefs such as this, it is no wonder that many are turning from organized religions.

  • invalid-0

    It is disgusting but not really surprising since the Catholic hierarchy has a long record of rewarding the worst kind of perverted sinners–priests who rape and molest children. I cannot fathom how anyone could see this as a morally acceptable postition to put an innocent child in danger of dying –which with pregnancy there is always a chance of but especially with a small child it is a very high probability–I would think even the most hardcore anti-choice people would see this as an exception to their hard positions. Anyone who would not support the decision of mom and drs to abort this pregnancy is showing their true colors–that they really don’t care about innocent life but it is more about control of females’ bodies. I hope and pray this little girl will be able to get all the counseling she needs and that her family will be able to find a life supportive spiritual community rather than the evil Catholic church they have been a part of. And a big hand to all the wonderful moral people who are in solidarity asking to be ex-communicated! Thanks for your moral courage!

  • http://foghornsully.blogspot.com invalid-0

    i’m pro-life and i’m disgusted. the brazillian bishops are so liberal, and then they choose these victims to make an example out of? but the vatican is totally out of line. abortion is a worse crime than rape? what else can you expect from this institutionalized child abuse camp?

  • invalid-0

    Look, I agree sexual abuse is a horrible crime. But not as horrible as taking a life. Period. That’s why abortion is worse than rape. Both are horrible , yes, but taking a person’s life is worse. It’s very simple.
    The case of a problem pregnancy could call for a termination of one life or another, if to continue the pregnancy would lead to the sure death of mother and her child, according to the Catholic Church. But it would have to be understood that a human life is being taken, and it would be the choice of the mother whether it was her own or her child’s life which would take priority, if such was the case.
    I do agree this was a terrible situation to unravel, but as long as we are dealing with human lives, born or unborn, old, or young, it will always be better to live than to die. So common sense tells us life is more precious than death. And besides, all this talk about preditor priests, etc, just cheapens the argument. There were/are a few. Just like a few bad doctors. Or pediphile Scout leaders. But you and I know the vast majority are good. Think about these things.

  • invalid-0

    Look, I agree sexual abuse is a horrible crime. But not as horrible as taking a life. Period.

    Take it up with the people who have actually been sexually abused. Then take it up with the women and girls who have been enslaved with unwanted pregnancy via the abuse. Then take it up with me, a woman with the wherewithal and financial ability to do something about the vile distortion of my humanity…the distortion YOU advocate!

    Oh right…I’m a cow…gestating a person.

    Your denial of a woman/girl’s humanity is the ultimate in “horrible.” And ya’ll are so good at it.

  • invalid-0

    You obviously do not know any rape victims? Well I have and it is not pretty. These women and men are changed for life.
    They are no longer innocent beings they have violated in the worst way.
    In fact one women was so scared of men she bcame a lesbian.
    Rape is a horrible crime maybe worst than murder bacause the person has to live with it.

    • http://clubwatch.com invalid-0

      To be sure, rape is terrible. And I think women often perceive the trauma of rape through the lens of the society in which they live. I’m by no means saying it’s ever morally justified to rape somebody, but if you look at the way different societies define their moral and ethical belief systems for the conduct of both men and women, you see appreciable differences in the amount of psychological trauma that lingers after a rape for a man/woman in each culture.

      For example, in countries and cultures that have long traditions of polygamy (I won’t name them here to avoid a flame ware), the women obviously don’t like being forced to have sex against their will, but they do not make the same kinds of dramatic statements about the “life destroying affects” of rape that women in Western countries make.

      So why is this? One possible answer is that their societies are more tolerant of it (I’M NOT SAYING THAT’S OK), and as a result, the women don’t perceive the act of rape as being more heinous than, say, the act of murder. This strongly indicates that our perception of the trauma, and as a consequence, our ability to recover and regain our dignity and self-confidence after being raped is dramatically influenced by our environment, rather than only an intrinsic violation of the mind, body and soul that some people implicitly suggest supersedes all cultural and social mores.

      Just something to think about that could help some male and female victims of rape recover from the trauma much faster if they believe that much of the trauma is created and defined by the influences of the society in which they live. And if one is willing to at least explore that idea, then it becomes possible to create entirely different therapeutic approaches.

      I could say a lot more about this because I have to analyze the affects of violent incidents against people, including rape, quite frequently. And there is a wide spectrum of feelings and opinions about rape among both genders, which should tell you that there are a wide spectrum of ways of defining it, dealing with it, and recovering from it. Thus, those people who choose to define it as a “life destroying event” will likely live a functionally defunct life; whereas those people who proactively learn how others have recovered from rape and channel their trauma into more productive thoughts and actions will have a much different perception of rape, and as a consequence, a much healthier and productive life.

  • invalid-0

    Rape is a crime. However the penalty is not death.

    Just in the interest of fairness, I wonder what rape victims would choose if given the ability to select death of the rapist vs. death of the fetus.

    Certainly the fetus can’t be held responsible for the rape, yet the fetus is killed while the rapist gets to live.

    Seems odd. I mean if the woman can choose death for the fetus that results from the crime, why can’t she choose death for the perpetrator of the crime? She might even spare some other woman the same fate. I guess not many men would support a woman’s right to avenge her rape. Probably not too politically feasible.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t know why I remain in the Church.

  • invalid-0

    Your record keeps skipping and skipping and nobody is listening! La de da de da

  • invalid-0

    And the Catholic Church wonders why there are fewer and fewer Catholics in the world! They’re leaving in disgust.

    My question is why The Church is leaving the rapist alone — after excommunicating the girl’s distraught mother and doctors who performed the emergency abortion to save the 9-year-old girl’s life — and allowing the rapist stepfather to stay in good-standing with The Church? The Vatican has confirmed that he will NOT be excommunicated.

    Ethic Souop blog has suggested a theory: “The many, many pedophile priests in the Catholic Church must feel a bond with the rapist.” Is there another explanation that makes more sense than that? You can read the article at:


  • invalid-0

    That poor, poor girl. Nine years old. Sexually abused by someone she trusted for 3 years. Pregnant at NINE! nine years old. and you are condemning her for getting an abortion? its alright to take away the purity, and innocence of a 6 year old, but its not alright to save her life? Shame on you Vatican, shame on you.

  • emma

    This whole thing is just so sickening. This child’s doctors said the girl was unlikely to survive the pregnancy because of her age and size and the fact that she was carrying twins. They saved her life by performing the abortion, and the Catholic church excommunicates them because the church ‘values life’?!! Just not the life of the nine year old rape victim. Monsters.


    I’m unshocked that the church didn’t excommunicate the raping stepfather, given their extensive history of protecting child rapists.


    I really hope the Catholic church fades into irrelevance sometime soon. 

  • invalid-0

    I’m with you- the RCC should fade into oblivion NOW,or the lower depths of the underworld from which it came.
    Uh 0h , I’m about to be attacked for my bigotry against and bashing of the RCC. How dare we say bad things about the RCC?
    Come on folks- let us have it, we’re not drinking your KoolAid- we won’t condemn a 9 year old to death for your dogma.

  • invalid-0

    So we are just suppose to accept this as a normal thing that men do and get away with in many countries? Just move on? It feels like you are downplaying this. In this situation a 9 year old girl was raped by a relative which happened many times. It is a sick person with a sick mind that does stuff like this. These people need to be locked up in jail forever or castrated. There is no excuse for this or any other crime against another living being.
    I am beggining to feel that many men just can not or will not put themselves in anothers shoes not so fortunate or priveledged as they, to learn some form of empathy or compassion for those who are “kept” from there right to at least have well being and peace.

  • invalid-0

    Perhaps the church officials should go into prison for a while in a country where male inmates are raped, then they’d change their minds.

    Rape is so bad that people, who may even be scared of hell but in any case do not know for certain what happens after death, have tried to kill themselves rather than live with the effects of rape. It’s the worst possible form of torture. It’s WORSE than death. Its effects last a long time and people may heal eventually, but not fully.