Mumbai: Indian Church always in favour of life
by Nirmala Carvalho

The ruling of the local High Court clears the path for eugenics and is causing a stir. The court will allow abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy if the life of the mother is at risk or if the fetus has malformations. The sisters of Mother Teresa welcome children rejected by their families because of their disabilities.


Mumbai (AsiaNews) – A ruling by the High Court of Bombay that clears the path for eugenics is causing a stir. Issued on April 4, the decision allows a doctor to perform an abortion after 20 weeks without asking the court's permission if it is meant to save the life of the mother. The judges also ruled that abortion is allowed in case of malformations of the foetus.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Ninette Lobo, director of the Diocesan Human Life Commission (DHLC) of the Archdiocese of Mumbai, said that "Human life is sacred. It is a gift of God, from conception to natural death."

In India the law states that it is possible to have an abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy in case of physical and mental illnesses of the unborn child. However, selective abortions have been performed in recent years, especially to get rid of female foetuses, deemed a burden in many families.

It is estimated that at least 63 million unborn females have not been born in the country, and two million girls go missing every year as a result of abortion, disease, lack of care and malnutrition.

According to Dr Pascoal Carvalho, a Mumbai doctor and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, "the magisterium of the Catholic Church affirms the sacred and inviolable character of every human life. Abortion on the first day or the 20th week is always and only murder."

"There is a lot of talk about a woman's right to choose, but what about the rights of children never born?" he asks.

For Ninette Lobo, "human life is threatened on many fronts. This is why the diocesan commission organises seminars and programs to support the value and sanctity of life. In the churches of the archdiocese we have also erected monuments to unborn children."

With respect to eugenics, to fetal malformation, she adds that "We understand the pain of the mother and feel compassion for the child with mental disabilities. But abortion is always the murder of a helpless unborn child. Technological innovations should be used to protect and defend life, but unfortunately they are abused."

Dr Carvalho points out that there are groups and associations that deal with disabled children, such as the Shishu Bhavan centres of the Sisters of Mother Teresa. "Here unwanted children are welcomed. Mumbai centre has 30 children under the age of 10; in the Asha Dhan centre, there are 65 special needs kids under the age 18.”

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