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9-Year-Old's Abortion Draws Catholic Censure in Brazil

Archbishop excommunicates mother, doctors involved in abortion for girl raped by her stepfather.

Despite the Catholic Church's attempts to stop the procedure, a 9-year-old Brazilian girl whose stepfather allegedly sexually abused her had an abortion Wednesday after doctors warned that giving birth might result in death. Physicians at the hospital in the coastal town of Recife said the girl - 15 weeks pregnant with twins and weighing 80 pounds - could not give birth without putting her life at risk.

In response, on Thursday Jos? Cardoso Sobrinho, archbishop of Olinda and Recife, excommunicated the girl's mother, who authorized the abortion, and the doctors involved.

"The law of God is above any human law," the archbishop said in an interview with Globo television that aired Thursday. "So when a human law, i.e., a law enacted by legislators, is against the law of God, that human law has no value. The adults who approved, who carried out this abortion, have incurred excommunication." Excommunication is the Catholic Church's severest censure for an individual, who can no longer participate ...

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