Bishops Assail Brazil's Talk of Easing Abortion Restrictions

BRASILIA, Brazil, DEC. 13, 2004 ( The president of the Brazilian episcopate says that the solution to the problems of expectant mothers in difficulty is not the elimination of their unborn child.

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«We need to be educated in fraternal, not fratricidal, coexistence,» Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo said in a statement. «Respect for the defenseless and for the life of the weakest is the expression of authentic culture and humanity.»

He was reacting to the intentions expressed by the Brazilian government to rethink the law on abortion.

The proposal is one of the aspects of the government’s Pro-Women National Policy Plan, launched last Wednesday. The revision of the legislation is intended to lift restrictions on abortion.

Brazilian law currently allows abortion if the mother’s life is at risk or if the pregnancy is the result of rape.

Nilcea Freire, minister of the Special Secretariat for Women’s Policies, said that beginning in January, a commission made up of the government, Congress and civil society will be in charge of reviewing the law.

In response, the episcopate said: «The presidency of the National Conference of the Bishops of Brazil again pronounces itself on the inviolable character of the right to life of every human being.»

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