A Roman Catholic archbishop in Brazil has punished the doctors and the mother of a 9 year old who became pregnant as a result of being raped by her step father. The mother and the doctor were found to have aided the girl in ending the pregnancy by means of abortion.
"The law of God is higher than any human laws," he said. "When a human law — that is, a law enacted by human legislators — is against the law of God, that law has no value. The adults who approved, who carried out this abortion have incurred excommunication."
Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao rebuked the archbishop, saying, "I'm shocked by two facts: by what happened to the girl and by the position of the archbishop, who in saying he defends life puts another at risk."
Abortion is generally illegal in Brazil, which is home to more Catholics than any other nation. But the procedure is allowed when the mother's life is in danger, when the fetus has no chance of survival or in rape cases where the woman has not passed her 20th week of pregnancy.
The girl was 15 weeks pregnant with twins at the time of the abortion.