Vatican blanks doctors over first Colombian abortion

// 31 August 2006

The Vatican has said it will excommunicate a team of doctors and nurses that performed an abortion on an 11 year old girl, who got pregnant after she was raped by her stepfather.

The Guardian reports that Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo called the medical team “evildoers”. But it’s not evil, apparently, to compound the trauma of being raped at 11 years old by forcing the child to carry the resulting pregnancy to term.

The abortion was the first to be carried out legally in Colombia, after the Constitutional Court eased the country’s harsh legal restrictions.

When the case became public, doctors were wary of performing the abortion as the text of the court’s ruling has yet to be published and they feared prosecution. But the high court issued a new ruling, compelling doctors to abide by its decision if the woman’s case fell within the criteria.

Once the ruling was handed down, the girl’s pregnancy was terminated at a public hospital in Bogot\xE1.

Carlos Lemus, the director of Simon Bolivar hospital where the abortion was performed, said he respected the church’s decision but did not share its view.

“We acted within the constitutional framework,” Dr Lemus said. “We were faced with the petition of a girl who wanted to go back to playing with her toys.”

He said Cardinal Trujillo “calls the doctors and nurses ‘evildoers’. I think the person who raped her is the evildoer”.

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