Bioethics, culture and infanticide in Brazilian indigenous communities: the Zuruahá case
Feitosa, Saulo Ferreira
Carvalho, Samuel José de
Cadernos de saúde pública / Ministério da Saúde, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública 2010 May; 26(5): 853-65
This article analyzes the practice of infanticide in indigenous communities in Brazil. Taking as a reference point a specific case involving two children of the Zuruahá people, it takes a broader look at the issue and discusses how infanticide is understood among other indigenous peoples. A debate focusing specifically on this topic that took place during a public hearing held in the Brazilian National Congress in December 2005 has also been taken into consideration in this discussion. In view of the positions adopted as a result of the hearing, this paper seeks to identify the ethical problems and moral dilemmas relating to the subject, by putting them into context and analyzing them in the light of respect for cultural pluralism. Seeking to contribute to the debate, the authors analyze the possibilities for intervention in the traditional practices of infanticide, while rejecting those positions that are not anchored in an attitude of profound respect for other people's cultures or that do not create conditions for dialogue between individuals or groups with different moralities.
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