Pope Makes Appeal as Brazil Weighs Abortion Legislation

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has called for commitment to the defense of life in Brazil, as the country considers legalizing abortion.

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The Pope made his appeal last Thursday during an audience granted to the executive of the Brazilian bishops’ conference.

The Brazilian Congress is debating a bill to legalize abortion, changing it from a crime to a right, unless it takes place against a woman’s will.

The draft law would liberalize abortion “up to the 12th week of pregnancy” and “up to the 20th week” if caused by rape.

A parliamentary hearing was held on the topic today in Brasilia, the capital, by the Social Security and Family Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. After the hearing, a vote on the legislation could follow at any moment.

In an interview, Bishop Odilo Pedro Scherer, secretary-general of the episcopal conference, said that at the meeting Benedict XVI showed a deep knowledge of the plans to legalize abortion in Brazil.

“Pope Benedict XVI asked us details of the drafts that are being analyzed,” said Bishop Scherer, as reported by the newspaper Correio Brasiliense.

He said the Holy Father “considered the general liberalization serious, especially under the pretext that it is a right of woman.”

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