A Brazilian 9 year-old, who was raped and impregnated by her 23-year-old stepfather, was given permission to abort the twins she was carrying, angering Catholic officials. Although abortion is illegal in Brazil, exceptions are made in cases where the mother's life is in danger or the fetus has no chance of survival.
"We don't know if she will develop the pregnancy up to the end because of the structure of her body. It is a big risk for her," Jose Severiano Cavalcanti, the doctor who confirmed her pregnancy, told the Diario de Pernambuco.
"She doesn't have a pelvis able to support a gestation of twins," he continued.
The case has shocked Brazil. According to police accounts, the girl's stepfather began abusing her when she was six, paying her one Brazilian real (about 50 cents) for each sexual interaction. He has been in custody since last week.
Brazil is home to more Catholics than any other country in the world and authorities from the church have condemned the abortion. Marcio Miranda, a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife, said the girl should have carried the twins to term and had a cesarean section. "It's the law of God: Do not kill. We consider this murder," Miranda told O Globo.
The little girl is currently is being cared for by a medical and psychological team in the Maternal-Child Institude in Recife, close to her hometown of Alagoinha in Pernambuco state.
Tell us: Do you agree with the Archdiocese? Or do you think the church was wrong for condemning the little girl's abortion?