Brazilian bishops remind judges that anacephaly babies are persons too


The Bishops Conference of Brazil has sent a message to the Brazilian Supreme Court reminding the justices that babies suffering from anacephaly do not lose their dignity as human beings and should not be aborted.

In an effort to prevent the Supreme Court from "usurping a function which belongs exclusively to Congress" by legalizing abortion in cases of anacephaly, the bishops recalled that authorities should seek to protect human life from the moment of conception, a duty not based on one's religious convictions.

The bishops called on the justices to discuss the beginnings of life, its destiny and legitimate human power over the life of another, keeping in mind "respect for the human race, not according to a specific creed or religious conviction.  This is a decision regarding the humanity of the anacephaly fetus and the meaning of that humanity."

Therefore the bishops sent more than 20 questions for the justices to consider as they ponder their decision, including:

· Is an anacephaly baby a human being or a thing?
· Such babies are being called "non-living beings".  What is a "non-living being?"
· Does it have essential dignity and is it therefore worthy of special protection, or is it a sub-human, something with a human form?
· Is the anacephaly fetus a pathology or is anacephaly a pathology?
· Is one's humanity determined by one's rationality?  Are only rational beings humans?
· Will we get rid of suffering by eliminating those who suffer?

According to the bishops, "a human being, apart from his or her form or state, is a human person, a subject and never a thing or just another being.  The human person can never be treated as a thing or disqualified by any hypothesis."
Likewise, the bishops emphasized that anacephaly babies are in need of special protection and that the suffering of the baby and of the family in no way justifies or rationalizes the sacrificing of a sick baby.  "It is not a simple choice, a simple act of the will.  It's not just a question of the body, but rather of another life, an autonomous life, a life with value in and of itself, for the simple reason that it exists," they said.

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