Letter to the Times

| March 5, 2009

Letter to the Editor in response to "Brazil: 9-Year-Old Has Abortion Despite Church's Objections":

As the parent of a nine-year old girl and mother of twins I know that my child would be woefully unprepared for a high-risk twin pregnancy and birth.  As a health professional I also know that the chances for survival of the fetuses would be low and the chances of permanent damage to the pregnant girl unacceptably high. Yet, the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil (Brazil: 9-year-old has abortion despite Church’s objections, March 5) would have condemned a pregnant child to suffer a long, drawn-out ordeal on the slim chance that a baby might be born.

Frighteningly, had this child become pregnant in Chile, El Salvador, Honduras or Nicaragua, she would be forced to carry the pregnancy to term or seek a clandestine abortion.   Throughout Latin America, extremists (including some Catholics) are pushing increasingly stringent limitations on reproductive freedom.  The tragedy avoided under Brazil’s more humane legal code, underscores the need for strong advocacy to counterbalance this trend.

Victoria Ward
Director of Programs, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region
Panama City, Panama

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