Although abortion is illegal in Brazil, over 1 million women there have the procedure each year. 250,000 of those women suffer trauma due to botched abortions and must be treated by doctors through the government's managed health care system. Forty percent of Brazil's rape victims are children, whose parents are then forced to break the law in order to terminate their daughters' pregnancy. Into this ugly morass the Catholic Church has waded, once again demonstrating how oblivious the Vatican is to the suffering of its followers.
A nine-year-old girl from the countryside was impregnated by her stepfather. The man had been sexually abusing her since she was six. A medical team in Brazil's northeastern city of Recife performed an abortion on the girl, who was fourth months pregnant. She was carrying twins.
When told about the incident, Archbishop Don Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of Recife excommunicated the doctor, the child's mother, and the medical team involved in the procedure. The abusive stepfather was not excommunicated because, according to Sobrinho, "A graver act than rape is abortion, to eliminate an innocent life."