This is a truly disturbing story out of the state of Espírito Santo in Brazil. And since there aren’t a lot of English-language stories about it, I’ve tried to piece it together using what’s available in Portuguese.
Here’s the gist of it: A 10-year-old girl, who had been a victim of sexual abuse by her uncle for four years, became pregnant several months ago. She visited a local hospital with the help of her grandmother to obtain an abortion, but she was denied permission. Hospital administrators refused the intervention.
That led to a legal challenge. On Friday, a court authorized the procedure for her because her life is clearly in danger and because she’s the victim of sexual abuse… but an alt-right activist soon leaked information about where it would take place and anti-abortion Catholics and evangelicals flooded the entrance of the hospital to make sure she couldn’t get in. They also shouted “ASSASSIN” at the girl.
The “good” news right now is that the girl was taken to a different hospital in the city of Recife (in a different state). According to one law professor, the procedure is complete and the girl is recovering.
Still, the whole controversy shows how anti-abortion zealots are more concerned about a fetus that resulted from rape than the health of a child who never wanted to be in that situation herself. The extremist who leaked the information claimed, without evidence or any medical knowledge, that obtaining a C-section would have saved the lives of both the fetus and the child.
As one writer points out, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered (I’m paraphrasing):
1) How did the anti-abortion activist who leaked the name of the hospital obtain that information?
2) Will there be any punishment for those who blocked the hospital’s entrance?
4) Isn’t disclosing the girl’s name and the hospital’s address, which the extremist did, a violation of the law?
5) Who’s going to protect the child moving forward?
6) Where is the abuser? (He was charged with rape but he remains at large.)
Brazil, with it’s right-wing authoritarian government and inability to suppress COVID, has a lot of parallels with the United States. Their anti-abortion religious nuts are no different from our own. And certain parts of this story wouldn’t be out of place in parts of our country. When rescuing a fetus is more important to you than saving the life of a child rape victim, your priorities are completely distorted and no one should ever take your demands seriously.
(Thanks to Rafael for the link)