Abortion in Brazil

Evangelical and Catholic Christians protested together against allowing abortion in cases of severe deformity of babies. The case of Marcela de Jesus, now living four months with anencephaly, has galvanized pro-life movement.

Little Marcela de Jesus Galante Ferreira has broken all the records of survival.  The anencephaly she suffers should have caused her death hours or days after birth, but to the amazement of many, she is now four months old, becoming the new pro-life symbol in Brazil and the most uncomfortable celebrity for some pro-abortionists who have criticized doctors for helping the infant.

The case of Marcela de Jesus could not have been more opportune. She was born in November 20, 2006, amidst a passionate debate over the legalization of abortion in cases of anencephaly, a condition in which a baby is born without a large part of its brain and usually dies with hours.

According to the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, the case of Marcela de Jesus was the symbol of a pro-life demonstration this past weekend, which was attended by popular Catholic priest Father Marcelo Rossi and by the outgoing Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Claudio Hummes.

The event was organized by Catholics and Evangelicals in order to gain the attention of the Brazilian Congress, where a bill to legalize abortion is being considered.

Attorney Nadir Pazin of the State Committee for the Defense of Life said Marcela’s case is emblematic because it contradicts all of the medical diagnoses that she would die shortly after birth.  “It dealt a serious blow to the thesis of feminist groups who defend the legalization of abortion.  She showed that what happens is what God wants and not science,” she said.
An uncomfortable life

Nevertheless, the promoters of abortion see Marcela’s case as a mere exception and they argue it “should not jeopardize the right of parents to choose abortion in cases of anencephaly.”

According to Folha, it is obvious that pro-abortion forces are worried about the repercussions of Marcela’s case in the country’s Supreme Court, where a ruling is expected on anencephaly abortions.

“We fear that this isolated and rare case will change the Court’s opinion and that everything that we have achieved up to know could be jeopardized by this case,” said Dr. Jorge Andalaft Neto, who performs abortions at the Jabaquara Hospital.
Fatima Oliveira of the Feminist Health Network said Marcela’s case would make it “more difficult” for abortion to be legalized in cases of anencephaly.

Some abortion supporters, such as attorney Debora Diniz, questioned the medical assistance provided to Marcela and accused doctors who helped her of using her for the pro-life cause.  “Marcela is an exception,” she said.  “She survives because of intense medical intervention in order to transform her into a heroine.”

Current status

Marcela remains hospitalized in the town of Ribeirao Preto, where she receives nutrition through a feeding tube and is cared for by her mother Cacilda Galante and her pediatrician Dr. Marcia Beani.  She currently weighs 8.3 pounds and is 58 centimeters long. She was born with only a partial section of her brain and brain stem.

Right now she is only being fed formula but next week she will begin receiving some solid foods.


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