Brazilian Woman Forced to Carry Fetus Without a Brain
by Alex DiBranco
June 21, 2010
Soon after I wrote about Brazil's strict criminalization of abortion
in almost all cases, a judge has decided to get even stricter, ruling that a woman pregnant with a fetus that has no brain
cannot access an abortion. The judge's rationale? That an abortion would violate the "right to life" mandated by Brazilian law.
Let's be clear: the fetus has no brain. It is not alive, and it will never be alive. It is an empty vessel, a bundle of flesh that will never be a living human being. The judge is forcing a woman to carry and nourish a lifeless vessel, out of some strange belief that the "right to life" applies to something that can never be alive.
The judge ruled that the abortion could not proceed because the woman's life was not in imminent danger, although even in harshly anti-choice countries, usually severe fetal abnormalities can be grounds for an abortion. Furthermore, while the woman's might not be at immediate risk of death, pregnancy is always accompanied by certain risks, and carrying to term and giving birth is a more dangerous endeavor than having an abortion. And the judge is putting this woman's life in harm's way for what purpose, exactly?
And that's just physical health. What about the toll this decision has on the woman's mental health. While we know little about the pregnant woman, it's probable that she was looking forward to being an expectant mother. She may have been crushed when she learned that she would not have this baby to raise, because the fetus lacked a key necessity for life. No doubt, whatever her circumstances, she wants to get the lifeless body out of her as soon as possible, so she can move on. Instead, she's subjected to the prolonged psychological torment of forced pregnancy that can never result in the birth of a living baby.
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