Brazilian court prohibits 'Catholic' name for abortion advocacy group

Pro choice protestor in Brazil via flickr cc by sa 20 A pro-abortion protestor in Brazil. | Danielle Lupin via flickr. cc by sa 2.0

A Brazilian court has ruled that "Catholics for the Right to Decide" must remove the term "Catholic" from its name, as the organization's goals are incompatible with the values of the Catholic Church. The organization is an outgrowth of the U.S.-based Catholics for Choice, which advocates for pro-abortion policies.

"In defending of the right to decide on abortion, which the Church clearly and severely condemns, there is a clear distortion and incompatibility of the name used in relation to the aims and specific actions of the association, which directly attack morality and good customs, in addition to harming the public good and interests," said a decision from Judge Jose Carlos Ferreira In a Sao Paolo lawsuit.

The suit was filed by the Don Bosco Center for Faith and Culture Association, which argued that the use of the term "Catholic" by the pro-choice group is fradulent, since "under the pretext of defending the 'reproductive rights of women,'" it is actually promoting the "murder of babies in the womb."

A lower court had dismissed the complaint as unfounded and said that only an ecclesiastical authority had standing to bring such a complaint.

But the Don Bosco Center then filed an appeal with the Second Chamber Court, which ruled in the center's favor Oct. 27.

Ferreira wrote in his decision that Catholics for the Right to Decide represents a "public, notorious, total and absolute incompatibility with the values" of the "Catholic Church in a general and universal way."

In addition, the judge ruled that "freedom of speech will not be compromised in the least, and the association may defend its values and ideas (including abortion) as it deems appropriate, provided that it uses a consistent name, without presenting itself to society under the name of another institution that publicly and conspicuously adopts opposite values."

Chris Tonietto, a Brazilian legislator and attorney who worked on the case, said after the ruling that "the name was considered subversive because it perverts the meaning of Catholicism itself, which is why we say that they created confusion."

"This organization has always acted to create confusion, so much so that the name 'Catholics for the Right to Decide', was certainly used in an abusive and undue way," he said.

On its Facebook page, the NGO stated that "it was not officially notified" of the court's decision and "became aware of the decision through the press."

The organization pledged to "take the appropriate measures after receiving the court order."

Catholics for the Right to Decide was founded in 1993, as the U.S. organization Catholics for Choice expanded into Latin America.  In recent years, the group has invested millions of dollars to promote the legalization of abortion in Latin America.

In October 2012, a spokesperson for the U.S. bishops' conference told journalists that Catholics for Choice "is not a Catholic organization."

"It never has been, and it was created to oppose the Catholic position on abortion," the spokesperson said.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.