01/30/2020, 09.34
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Bishops oppose India's new proposed abortion law

The pro-life groups of Kerala will organize a nationwide demonstration.  Yesterday the government approved the extension of abortion limit from 20 to 24 weeks.  In India about 6.4 million abortions are practiced every year, half of which are illegal.



New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The government of India has approved a bill that increases the limit allowed for abortion from 20 to 24 weeks.  The proposal was made official yesterday and will be discussed in the next session of Parliament.  Meanwhile, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020 has already aroused the reactions of the "pro life" groups and of the Catholic Church who consider human life an inviolable gift from God, from conception to natural death.

The "Prolife Committee" of the Council of Catholic Bishops of Kerala, which yesterday convened an emergency meeting on the issue, took sides against the law.  The body of the Indian Catholic Church and the Council's Commission for the family, chaired by bishop Paul Mulassery of Quillon, emphasizes the risk that "The government order prepares conducive atmosphere for unbridled abortion".  "There is no difference - underline the bishops - between an unborn child and a newborn baby".

India allows abortion up to the 20th week, but extends it in case of fetal malformation and risk of death for the pregnant mother.  Federal Minister Prakash Javadekar argues that the bill is a "progressive" reform since it will guarantee "safe termination of pregnancy and will also give women of reproductive age the right over their bodies".  According to the politician, the extension of the limit of up to 24 weeks "will help rape victims, girls with disabilities and minors who may not realize they are pregnant until the last minute."

According to a study by the Ipas Development Foundation, 6.4 million abortions are carried out every year in the country, of which at least half illegally with improvised doctors in precarious health conditions for both the child and the pregnant woman.

The Kerala pro-life committee announces that it will organize a demonstration against the law at the state level.  The group criticizes the law that will replace the 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. The latter allowed for abortion up to the 12th week.  "Already the period has been extended up to 20 - he highlights - now they want to increase it up to 24. This will only lead to one result: femicide and manslaughter".

The bishops want to send a message in favor of human life and in the event they will bring banners with the words "Save life".  "The deny the right to be born will tarnish the Indian culture that upholds life as supreme,” the meeting said.


Dr  Pascoal Carvalho, a Mumbai doctor and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, comments to AsiaNews: "Abortion is willful termination of the pregnancy before the period of viability. The culture of death had already begun when abortion was legalised.  20 or 24 weeks is just a perception.  There can never be a right time for killing someone.  Extending the date to 24 weeks will now allow more people to consider this option. Society itself takes another step back and leans more towards scant respect for life and the defenceless".

(Nirmala Carvalho collaborated)

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