The head of the Catholic church said an abortion could never be condoned, signalling his support to several US states which passed motions to make it illegal to have an abortion in almost all cases. The holy man made the comment during a Vatican-sponsored anti-abortion conference in which he added that abortion can never be supported, even when the foetus is gravely sick or malformed. He then urged doctors and priests to support families to carry such pregnancies to term.
He said: “Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem? Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?”
He denounced decisions to abort based on prenatal testing, saying a human being is “never incompatible with life”.
Even those babies destined to die at birth or soon thereafter deserve to receive medical care in the womb, Francis said, adding that their parents need to be supported so they do not feel isolated and afraid, he added.
Frances also said while one can argue about using medical resources this way, there is value to it for the parents.
He continued: “Taking care of these children helps parents to grieve and not only think of it as a loss, but as a step on a path taken together.”
The Pope has spoken out strongly against abortion in the past, although he has also expressed sympathy for women who have had them and made it easier for them to be forgiven.
His comments come as the abortion debate is again making headlines in the US, with state initiatives seeking to restrict the procedure.
Last week, Alabama voted to make abortion illegal in the state, even if the woman became pregnant after being raped.
Many who argued the new legislation took to social media to condemn the 25 male Republicans who vote to make termination a serious crime at any stage of pregnancy.
Those who break the law could now face up to 99 years in prison.
The only exception to the law is if the unborn foetus is a serious threat to the health of the woman.
Yesterday, a federal lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood on behalf of abortion providers seeking to overturn the Alabama law and demand a judge block the new legislation.
Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, said: “Make no mistake: Abortion remains – and will remain – safe and legal in Alabama. With this lawsuit, we are seeking a court order to make sure this law never takes effect.”
The lawsuit reads: “For over 46 years — since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade — US law has recognised the fundamental constitutional right to make the profoundly important and personal decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.”
The case says women could endanger their lives by being forced to continue with unwanted pregnancies.
The law is set to take affect from November this year. Other states in the US that have a ban on abortions are Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri.