An anencephalic girl in Brazil has survived for two weeks - against all odds and medical prognosis - and has sparked a new debate in the country about the legalization of abortion in such cases.
Marcela de Jesus Ferreira was born on November 20 in the small town of Santa Casa de Patrocinio Paulista. When her mother was four months pregnant, doctors diagnosed the unborn child with anencephaly, a congenital malformation that usually results in early death due to the insufficient development of the brain. Babies born with this condition usually survive hours or just a few days.
Jandira Feghali, the Brazilian lawmaker who has proposed a bill that would legalize abortion in cases of anencephaly, said she was not surprised that the baby has survived for so long. Feghali noted that some studies have shown the possibility of anecephalic babies living as long as three months.
Feghali said in her opinion, the prolonged life of the child would only prolong the suffering of the mother.
However, Claudia, the mother of the child and a 36-year old farmer, is praying for the life of her daughter and gives thanks to God for each minute she is able to spend with her.
When asked why she did not request an abortion in order to avoid the pain of seeing her child born with in this condition, Claudia replied, “I am suffering, but she does not belong to me, she belongs to God and I am just caring for her here.”
“Each second of her life is precious to me,” Claudia said. “I consider her life to be such a great miracle that I am going to wait until God wants her to go,” she added.
“Abortion never crossed my mind. Nobody has the right to destroy a life, especially that of an indefensible child,” the mother said.
Doctors have been surprised by the baby girl’s resistance. Dr. Marcia Beani, who has cared for Marcela since her birth, said, “Up to now she has surprised everybody. It is a rare case and we are going to care for her with dignity, food, water and oxygen.”