Monday, March 16, 2009

How Much Can a Child Take?

The Catholic Church - rather than the man who raped a little girl - has been turned into the monster in the latest heart-wrenching case of child abuse.

Brazil is reeling from the recent abortion undergone by a 9 year old mother of twins, but it is difficult to assess what is most heinous to the country. Much media commentary has focused on the excommunication issued against the girl’s mother and the abortionists, rather than on the abortion itself or on the step-father’s crime of rape.

Opinion writers across the globe have successfully averted attention from the man who sexually abused a 9 year old and her 14 year old disabled sister over several years, to the Church’s public condemnation of an act which has always been condemned by the Church.

One ‘Catholic’ feminist pro-choice writer, Mary Hunt, finds the Church’s actions “violent beyond defense.” Hunt is obviously suffering from some form of memory loss. It was not the Church who sexually abused two little girls. Nor was it the Church who forced a nine-year-old to undergo a traumatic and life-altering abortion.

The girl was in her fourth month of pregnancy when she was subjected to an abortion. The abuse had reportedly been occurring since the child was six.

In Brazil, abortion is permitted by law in the case of danger to the life of the mother and in the case of rape. By law, it seems, this little girl had a right to an abortion. But as her mother was unsuccessful in defending her against the awful procedure, the Church certainly tried. The Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife legally tried to stop the abortion from occurring, but was unsuccessful.

There have been a number of estimates of the girl’s weight – between 66 and 80 pounds – that’s between 30 and 36 kilograms. It’s been claimed that her weight alone would have caused serious problems had the girl carried to term. But the child’s ongoing psychological welfare seems to have been of no concern to the abortionists. In recent years, abortion-related mental illness has been heavily substantiated in numerous studies across the globe. To couple years of sexual abuse with the psychological trauma of an abortion is a death warrant for the girl’s mental health.

There has also been some discussion of the child’s future fertility. It is widely recognized that abortion impacts on future fertility even for older women. To subject a nine-year-old to the harrowing surgical procedure of an abortion would surely wreak havoc on her reproductive system.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, commenting from Rome, stated, "It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated.”

When this little girl is still suffering from the consequences of the abortion in 20, 30, 40 years time, she may - it can only be hoped - feel some comfort in the fact that the Church tried to protect her from it, and that those who held her under the abortionist's knife were duly punished by the Church.

At the heart of all this are 4 children. Two have lost their lives in the womb. The other two have lost their innocence and any chance of a normal, psychologically healthy adulthood.

If there is an appropriate maxim for this case, it would have to be that two wrongs don't make a right.

© Eva Whiteley 2009

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