BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) Brazil's Roman Catholic bishops have condemned a temporary court order that allows abortions for severely deformed fetuses that are not expected to survive.
However, the bishops' conference said they won't take any direct legal action to challenge the decision.
''We cannot change the laws of the land,'' Bishop Odilo Scherer said last Friday. ''Although we respect the decisions of the courts, that does not mean we have changed our position with regard to the ethical need to respect all human life.''
Abortion is illegal in Brazil, the world's largest predominantly Catholic country, except in cases of rape or when the mother's life is in danger.
On July 1, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio issued a temporary order permitting abortions in cases in which a fetus has a severe malformation of the head that is detected by a medical examination. The full 11-member Brazilian Supreme Court is to rule on the issue later this year.
In his temporary order, Aurelio cited medical evidence saying that fetuses with severely malformed heads rarely survive. ''They are stillborn in 50 percent of cases and die immediately after birth in virtually all other cases,'' he said.
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