.- According to LifeSiteNews.com, the government of Brazil announced Monday a plan to provide artificial hormonal contraceptives to the public at a discounted cost in drug stores across the country.
Brazilâs socialist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, told media that the plan will give poor Brazilians âthe same right that the wealthy have to plan the number of children they want.â
Government-run pharmacies already distribute chemical contraceptives and condoms for free, but the new program will make the pills available at low cost in 3,500 privately owned businesses. The government hopes to have the discounted pills available at 10,000 stores by the end of the year.
The government also plans to increase the number of male sterilizations at Brazilian hospitals.
During his recent 10-day visit, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the governmentâs capitulation to the population control mentality. Throughout his some thirty speeches and homilies during his visit, the Pope repeatedly urged the Brazilian people to reject birth control and abortion calling it a threat to the âfuture of the peoplesâ of Latin America.
âAmong the initiatives to create a normal and balanced population growth, the public powers do not have the right to promote abortion, mass sterilization and the indiscriminate spreading of artificial methods of birth control,â Pope Benedict asserted.
But the practice of the Catholic faith among most Brazilians has declined sharply, coinciding with the growth of Marxist-inspired liberation theology and broad secularization. The CIA World Factbook lists the main religious affiliation of Brazil as âRoman Catholic (nominal)â with 73.6% of the population being Catholic. The US State Departmentâs 2005 religious freedom report noted, however, that âonly a small percentageâ of Brazilians regularly attend Mass.
As the devotion of Brazilâs people to their traditional religious beliefs wanes, so does their birth rate. 2007 statistics show a general fertility rate that has just dipped below replacement level with 1.88 births per woman, down from1.91 in 2006.