Brazilian Bishops Assail Abortion Legislation

Call It a Contradiction in the Face of Human-Rights Efforts

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BRASILIA, Brazil, NOV. 14, 2005 ( The Brazilian bishops’ conference has expressed «its total disagreement» with legislation in the National Congress that seeks to decriminalize abortion.

According to a note from the executive committee of the bishops’ conference published Friday, the legislation «is a frontal attack on the basic right of every human being: the right to be born.»

«This violation concerns other human rights, leads to the erosion of the social and juridical order and opens the way to endless moral disorders,» said the note, entitled «The Right to Be Born.»

Based on solid scientific facts, it is urgent «to repeat that human life begins with fertilization, from which the human being gets his own genetic patrimony and immunological system and develops in a coordinated, progressive and continuous way. Human life must be respected and defended from the beginning of its existence until its natural death.»

The bishops’ conference stresses that «it is not admissible that a proposal of law dare to permit the elimination of an innocent and defenseless human being. In this way, talk about human rights becomes incoherent, as the defense of other rights is contradicted by denying the primordial right to be born and to live.»

Own identity

The prelates reiterate that «the mother does not have the right to freely end her pregnancy, as the child about to be born, carrier of an incurable fetal sickness or congenital malformation, has from the beginning his own identity, an identity that is different from the parents and unity in his gradual and continuous development. The mother’s life requires every defense, appreciation and protection.»

The bishops conclude by expressing their confidence in lawmakers to vote in favor of life.

The note is signed by Cardinal Geraldo Agnelo, Bishop Antônio Celso Queiroz and Auxiliary Bishop Odilo Pedro Scherer, respectively, the president, vice president and secretary-general of the episcopal conference.

On Thursday night, Cardinal Agnelo met with the president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, federal deputy Aldo Rebelo, to express the Church’s concern about the abortion legislation.

According to the cardinal, the content of the legislation «leaves us perplexed as it allows the practice of abortion up to the moment of birth.»

«We live in a country of Catholic culture,» he said, «which is profoundly distressed in the face of the destruction of life.»

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