Pro-Life Group Convicted of Calling an Abortion Activist an "Abortionist" is Refused Appeal by Brazilian Supreme Court
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
ROME, June 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Supreme Federal Tribunal of Brazil has allowed a decision to stand condemning a pro-life organization for calling a pro-abortion anthropologist an "abortionist anthropologist" in a caption below a photo of the woman, taken while she debated in favor of the legalization of abortion.
The word "abortista" (abortionist) in Portuguese is commonly used to refer to individuals, groups, or ideologies that defend the legalization of abortion, one of whom is anthropologist Debora Diniz Rodrigues. However, a lower court had ruled that the language "gravely offends her personal honor and dignity."
The photo and caption were ordered removed by the court (see original page with photo removed here).
With the Supreme Federal Tribunal's decision to refuse to hear the case, the decision against the Brazilian pro-life organization Pro-Vida Aanapolis, will stand.
Fr. Luiz Carlos Lodi da Cruz, president of the organization, commented to LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that "the episode shows that religious persecution is now in process in our country. Whoever wishes to defend life, should be prepared for everything."
Although the judges in the original trial condemned Pro-Vida Anapolis for calling Rodrigues an "abortionist," Lodi da Cruz told LifeSiteNews that "the judges were unable to say what other word I could have (or should have) used."
After the Supreme Federal Tribunal's decision to hear the case, "there is nothing more to do," according to Lodi da Cruz. "We were condemned in the first instance, in the second instance, and we were not received by the Supreme Federal Tribunal."
The decision sets yet another precedent against freedom of speech in Brazil for pro-life and pro-family organizations. Prominent pro-family activists and organizations have been repeatedly targeted for investigation and prosecution by the Brazilian government in recent years.
In May, government authorities announced plans to censor statements made on television denouncing homosexual behavior, claiming that they are not appropriate for children under 18 years of age. Such programming will be moved out of daytime television to the after 11 pm slot, and will contain a government-imposed "warning."
In addition, Brazilian President Luiz Lula recently gave a speech before homosexual activists, promising to continue pushing for a "homophobia" law that critics charge will completely eliminate the right to criticize homosexual behavior in Brazil.
Original Pro-Vida Anapolis Webpage with Photo and Caption Removed (in Portuguese)http://www.providaanapolis.org.br/abomoral.htm
Decision to Reject Appeal by Supreme Federal Tribunal (in Portuguese)http://www.stf.jus.br/portal/processo/verProcessoAndamento.asp?numero=548048&classe=RE&origem=AP&recurso=0&tipoJulgamento=M
Previous LifeSiteNews Coverage:
Brazilian Government Seeks to Remove "Homophobic" Christian Programming from Daytime TV
Brazilian President Will Seek to "Criminalize Words and Acts Offensive to Homosexuality"
Prominent Pro-Family Activist Julio Severo Flees Brazil to Escape Charges of "Homophobia"
Brazilian Homosexuals File "Hate" Charges Against Brazilian Christians
Brazilian Gay Groups Launch Multiple Lawsuits to Silence Christian Opposition