Catholic News Service has the best coverage I’ve seen (no surprise) that clears up many of the confusions of the previous coverage (and in my post) about the nine-year-old Brazilian gril who was raped by her stepfather, impregnated with twins (she herself is 66 pounds), then prescribed an abortion.

For one thing, she could not have been automatically excommunicated:

According to canon law, anyone who procures a completed abortion incurs an automatic excommunication, meaning there is no need for an official decree from church authorities. However, canon law indicates several conditions — for example, not yet having turned 17 years old — that would render an individual exempt from the penalty of excommunication.

The most poignant and incisive take on the tragedy comes at the end of the story:

Jesuit Father Clodoveo Piazza, a missionary in Brazil, told La Stampa that there are thousands of similar tragedies unfolding in the poorest regions of the South American nation.

He said where he works in the state of Bahia “about a third of all children are born to underage mothers; often they are only 11 or 12 years old.”

The majority of these pregnancies among the young are unwanted and, out of shame, the girls “run even greater risks by aborting” in clandestine clinics, he said.

“The world has to wake up. We are killing childhood,” he said.

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