National Pro-Life March to be Held in Brazil

Lenise Garcia of the Movement Brazil without Abortion on Countrys Respect for Life

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By Thacio Siqueira

BRASILIA, JUNE 8, 2012 ( On June 26, the 5th National Pro-Life March of the Citizenry will be held in Brasilia, organized by the Movement “Brazil without Abortion.”

ZENIT interviewed Dr. Lenise Garcia, professor at the Institute of Biology of the University of Brasilia, member of the Bioethics Commission of the archdiocese of Brasilia and of the Episcopal Conference, and president of the Movement “Brazil without Abortion.”

ZENIT: A draft law is being considered  in the Chamber (law 478/2007), known as the Statute of the Unborn. What does this draft contribute to the pro-life struggle in Brazil?

Garcia: The draft of the Statute of the Unborn makes explicit and concrete something that is already foreseen in our legislation: the inalienable right to life from conception. It treats of principles, as, for example:

Art. 3: The human dignity and nature of the unborn is recognized from conception, granting it full juridical protection.

Paragraph 1: All the rights of the unborn are recognized from conception, especially the right to life, health, development, physical integrity and the other rights of the personality foreseen in art. 11 to 21 of Law no. 10,406 of January 10, 2002.

And it also contains some concrete proposals, such as:

Art. 11: Prenatal diagnosis is directed to respect and safeguard the development, health and integrity of the unborn.

Paragraph 1: The prenatal diagnosis must be preceded by the informed consent of the pregnant woman.

Paragraph 2: Methods of prenatal diagnosis which cause the mother or the unborn disproportionate or unnecessary risks are prohibited.

Once approved, the Statute of the Unborn will make difficult the interpretation that some presently make of the laws, which open loopholes for carrying out an abortion.

In regard to pro-life movements, it is also important to have a positive agenda, which is not content with the struggle “against” the legalization of abortion, but which shows that we are “in favor” of life, including one in complex and delicate circumstances.

ZENIT: What else is needed for its approval?

Garcia: Draft laws born in the National Congress have quite a long procedure in Brazil. This particular draft was approved by the Social Security and Family Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, but it must still go to the Finance and Taxation Commission and the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission. Once approved in the Chamber, it must still go to the Senate. All this can happen in a relatively short time, if the population is attentive in following the procedure. Otherwise, the tendency of Parliaments is the “forget” controversial drafts. Hence the importance of the manifestation of the population for the approval of the Statute of the Unborn.

ZENIT: Is there a draft law to approve abortion? What is it about?

Dr. Garcia: The Criminal Code is being reformed. To do so, initially the Senate appointed a commission of jurists, which is going to present a draft bill to be analyzed by the parliamentarians. This draft bill is yet to be presented officially; however, several parts were made public, and, in regard to crimes against life, it has some quite worrying points regarding abortion and also euthanasia. For example, the proposal says that abortion is not a crime up to the 12th week when, with a request by the pregnant woman, the “doctor or psychologist states that the woman lacks the conditions to assume motherhood.” Evident, given such an undefined rule, is that many doors would open.

ZENIT: Of what help is a manifestation on the streets?

Garcia: We know that the majority of the Brazilian population is against the legalization of abortion. It is necessary that this be demonstrated to the parliamentarians so that they act according to the desire of those who elected them. To take to the streets is an efficient way of making this demonstration. For example, the Commission of Jurists which is elaborating the proposal for the Criminal Code is including many things that are in its thought but not in that of the Brazilian people. However, they are our legitimate representatives. The Senators should be so, as they were elected for that. One of the objectives of the March is to remind them of their representativeness, to show them that were are paying attention.

ZENIT: Do persons of all religions join the demonstrations? Of which primarily?

Garcia: We have the participation of persons of many religions and also those with none. Every citizen who understands and wants to promote the human dignity of each person, also in the initial phases of existence, is invited to participate. In previous events, we had the presence of Catholics, Evangelicals of several denominations, Buddhists, believers of Seicho-no-le, participants of the Legion of Good Will and many others.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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