I hate to sound burnt out and bitter....but you're surprised?
I'm not surprised, but this may be a watershed moment in Brazil, and it's sparked a great deal of debate about abortion and the Catholic church.
The president and health minister of the largest Catholic population on earth are condemning the church's decision. This is an important development even if it's not surprising.
Brazil attacks church opposition to girl's abortion
"I believe the position of the church is extreme, radical and inadequate," Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao said on a government radio program.
"I am shocked by the radical position of this religion which, wrongly saying it is defending a life, puts another life in danger that is as important as any other."
Isn't Brazil the country where, according to stats I read, complications from abortion (back yard) were the leading cause of death for young women (at least up until the law softened a couple of years ago?) and a surprisingly large number got sterilised, because abortion was illegal and contraception made difficult by the church?
This doesn't sound right to me. It's certainly high but I doubt that it is the leading cause of death for any demographic other than women who died from abortions.
And as to contraception, yes the Catholic church in Brazil objects to it (e.g. threatening excommunication to those who distribute "morning-after" pills) but no that hasn't had a significant impact on their availability and the Brazilian government has subsidized (and freely distributed during Carnaval) both condoms and those pills.
Brazil already distributes 254 million free condoms a year, many as part of an anti-AIDS program that makes a special effort just before each year's Carnival celebrations. Brazil also has handed out the morning-after pill and regular contraceptives at government pharmacies for years.
The newly expanded program offers regular contraceptives at commercial drug stores for sale at just $2.40 for a year's supply. Temporao didn't say whether the morning-after pills would be subsidized or entirely free. Previously, the government said it would distribute 50 million packages of regular birth control pills, each with a month's supply, by year's end.
The plan to subsidize these contraceptives was announced right after the Pope visited Brazil and led his visit with an anti-abortion appeal. Brazil is not very influenced by the external Catholic church, and the reality is that the people themselves are very strongly opposed to abortion even while rejecting the church position on contraceptives (the majority of Brazilian women use contraceptives).
This excommunication may well be the Catholic church's greatest influence on the debate in Brazil. Right now they have a president who had to drop out of school to help support his large family, and the health minister called for a referendum on eliminating jail sentences for illegal abortions.
When the Pope made his appeal against abortion this is what the Brazilian president said days later:
"No one is in favor of abortion, but the question is: should a woman be imprisoned? Should she die? It’s necessary to look at the woman as a human being."
At that point he was still not willing to go much further than that, he'd been politically attacked as being in favor of abortion in the past, but the Catholic church is pushing Brazilians to debate this issue, and by taking such an unreasonable position they may be shooting themselves in the foot this time.