Catholic Church Excommunicates Mother and Doctors Over 9-Year-Old Rape Victim’s Abortion

by Cara on March 6, 2009

in abortion, anti-choice extremism, International, misogyny, patriarchy, rape and sexual assault, religious fanaticism, reproductive justice, South America, violence against women and girls, women’s health

In Brazil, there is a horrific story of a 9-year-old girl who was raped and impregnated (h/t Falloch’s comment).  It’s believed that the rape was committed by her step-father.  The girl was not only pregnant at that young age, but also pregnant with twins.  And so, as makes perfect sense, she had an abortion.  Because she was raped, because she was much to young to have a child, and because the stress of having twins would of course have been far too much for a 9-year-old’s body to handle.  And she could have died.

Now, the Catholic Church has excommunicated both the girl’s mother and the doctors who performed the abortion, which likely saved the girl’s life.

Well then.  At least they didn’t excommunicate the girl, right?  Maybe they decided that she was much too young to have made the decision to have the abortion on her own, or to understand what was happening.  But not too young, apparently, to be forced to give birth to the twins caused by her rapist.  Not too young to quite possibly die in the process.

In defending the decision, the Church’s lawyer has said:

“It’s the law of God: Do not kill. We consider this murder,” Miranda said in comments reported by O Globo.

But rape, apparently, is a-okay.  After all, I don’t see the step-father, who allegedly admitted to having raped the girl since the age of 6, being excommunicated.  Killing a fetus is apparently worthy of such censure and shunning.  Horrifically violating a small child, though?  Well, we all make mistakes.  And this stance is of course nothing new.

The lawyer also argued that the girl just should have carried to term and had a cesarean section.  Because obviously a lawyer knows the girl’s condition better than her own doctor.  And obviously the girl’s mental well-being doesn’t count for a damn thing.

Who knows what a cesarean section would have done for the girl, since the doctors didn’t present the issue of her giving vaginal birth as being the main health concern here.  But oh well.  God says.  Clearly, if this child died in the course of fulfilling “God’s wishes,” it would have been a lesser tragedy than the cold-blooded murder of those innocent little fetuses.  After all, in other extremist Catholic doctrine, a woman is better off dead than raped anyway.

RH Reality Check asks: Is this what religious objection to abortion looks like?  Seeing as how the point of the entire anti-choice movement is indeed to erase any and all concern for the woman in question, in fact to erase her very existence if at all possible . . . clearly, yes.  In an extreme nutshell, this is exactly what it looks like.

cross-posted at Feministe

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{ 12 comments }

1 Renee March 6, 2009 at 11:07 am

I don’t even have the words to register my disgust.

2 earlgreyrooibos March 6, 2009 at 11:53 am

Me neither. Just when I thought that organized religion could not piss me off even MORE . . .

3 Lemur March 6, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Religion is supposed to be there to teach us to be good to one another, to do no harm, and for those who are wronged, see that justice is done or at least that comfort is given to the hurting.

Why then is religion suddenly no longer concerned with these things?
The cognitive dissonance makes my head ache. It just… hurts too much.

4 SunlessNick March 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Because she was raped, because she was much to young to have a child, and because the stress of having twins would of course have been far too much for a 9-year-old’s body to handle. And she could have died.

And thus so would they anyway. Which would mean, by their lights, that making her continue the pregnancy is a triple murder. But since they’re ok with it, do I conclude that they regard her death and mitigating theirs?

5 jovan byars March 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm

This story just burns me up. The mother and the OB-GYNs are excommunicated just for supporting her nine-year-old daughter’s right to life, the nine-year-old daughter’s right to liberty and the nine-year-old daughter’s right to the pursuit of her happiness.

This is proof that the Catholic Church would rather support pedophiles’/rapists’ parental rights than to support women’s/girls’ rights.

6 Emerald March 6, 2009 at 3:16 pm

I’m a dedicated Christian, but this kind of behavior from the church is really just sick.

7 Therese March 6, 2009 at 7:07 pm

one of the many reasons why I’m not Catholic anymore – the leadership is stuffed and dogma is nonsense.

8 Therese March 6, 2009 at 7:17 pm

After all, in other extremist Catholic doctrine, a woman is better off dead than raped anyway.

does anyone else notice that most female catholic saints are canonised for being virgins and nothing else?

9 vicki March 6, 2009 at 10:24 pm

The fact that acts of such brutalatism still exist in this world, in this day and age terrify me. what kind of a person- no not person, animal- can commit such acts of cruelty towards an innocent child. a child for gods sake. not even in the world of the animals does this kind of behaviour occur.

the Catholics spurt religious bullshit and protests about how sodomy is against god. what about Rape? what about pediophilia? where are those protests? why are they not stoning rapist and pediophiles? instead they choose to Condem a mother for trying to protect her child from death or a physical reminder of the torment she endured for most of her childhood.

all those who condem the abortion of the rape victims fetuses, the victim being a child, think about your daughters. your nieces. your wives. your sisters. what would you do? would you do the ‘right thing’ by gods laws? let me ask, where was your so called ‘god’ when this child was brutally violated?

10 Sakura March 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Horrific

11 Cactus Wren March 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm
Because she was raped, because she was much to young to have a child, and because the stress of having twins would of course have been far too much for a 9-year-old’s body to handle. And she could have died.

And thus so would they anyway. Which would mean, by their lights, that making her continue the pregnancy is a triple murder. But since they’re ok with it, do I conclude that they regard her death and mitigating theirs?

I believe the (utterly vile) notion is that there was a CHANCE they might have lived — or at least, lived long enough to be baptized. By saving her life, the doctors denied the fetuses that CHANCE.

Also, let me just clarify something: every blog that has mentioned this story, to my knowledge, has used some such phrase as “she might have died”. Even if she WOULD CERTAINLY have died … that would have made no difference in the eyes of the Church; the official doctrine is still that “the mother’s life may not be sacrificed to save the child, nor the child’s to save the mother”. It’s forbidden to take a positive action in either direction. So allowing a pregnant child to die trying to give birth isn’t “sacrificing her life”, because it’s God’s will; but terminating her pregnancy to save her life is forbidden unless it can be demonstrated that her fetus[es] is/are already dead.

12 eruvande March 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

The worst part is that God doesn’t say… http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/abortion.html

These people are ignoring what their god actually says. Because he really doesn’t have such a big problem with abortion at all.

Guess that just makes them assholes.

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