Cardinal criticizes Brazilian presidential candidate Lula for contradictory statement on abortion

Lula.jpg Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Jan. 18, 2018. Credit: BW Press/Shutterstock.

Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo, has described the statement on abortion made by Brazilian presidential candidate and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as "unfortunate." 

During a March 24 interview on Super 91.7 FM radio, Lula said that as a father of a family he is against abortion, but that if he wins the presidential elections he will need to treat it “as a public health issue.”

“I, Lula, father of five children, am against abortion and always have been. Now, I, the head of state, need to treat the matter as public health. Personally, that’s my thought, but how am I going to treat this as a head of state?” he said.

"Many people are against abortion, but they run to other countries to do it in secret, while women die on the streets," Lula said. "It is up to the state to give these people the ability to get decent (medical) treatment, that’s the role of the state," he added.

The candidate also said that "he’s not afraid of controversial issues such as abortion," and announced that "when it’s introduced, it will be discussed in the appropriate forum, which is the National Congress."

According to a survey by the Orbis Institute conducted for the Diário do Poder website, the legalization of abortion is supported by less than 17% of the Brazilian population.

Commenting on Lula’s statement, Cardinal Scherer recalled that "abortion, whether practiced individually or promoted by the state, always ends up causing the taking of human lives."

Although ACI Digital, CNA’s Portuguese language news partner, requested an interview with the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil to comment on Lula’s remarks, the conference replied that "it does not comment on the discourse of candidates."

Brazil’s general election will be held Oct. 2, in which a new president, vice president, and members of the National Congress will be chosen.

According to the local press, a recent electoral survey by the FSB Institute, at the request of the investment bank BTG Pactual, showed that Lula, of the Workers' Party, is in first place with 43% of likely voters.

Lula is followed with 29% of likely voters favoring the current president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro of the Liberal Party. In third and fourth place are Ciro Gomes of the Democratic Labour Party and Sérgio Moro of Podemos.

The survey also indicated that Bolsonaro had a disapproval rating of 59%, followed by Moro with 49%, and Lula and Ciro with 41% each.

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