Pope Francis on Wednesday delivered some of the strongest anti-abortion rhetoric of his papacy during a lecture before his general audience, telling listeners that having an abortion is like hiring “a hitman.”
“But how can an act that suppresses innocent and defenseless budding human life be therapeutic, civil or simply human?” Francis said, asking listeners at St. Peter’s Square if it is right “to do away with a human life to solve a problem.” Then came the grim comparison. “Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? One cannot do this, it is not right to do away with a human being, albeit small, to solve a problem.”
Francis ascended to the papacy five years ago, and in that time has led the church to take less extreme position on homosexuality, breastfeeding in public and, it seemed for a while, abortion. As recently as 2016, the pope had directed Catholic priests to absolve women for committing the “grave sin” of abortion. It was seen at the time as the Church possibly softening its stance on abortion. But Francis’ remarks on Tuesday all but out that notion to rest.
The remarks also come at a time when abortion rights have been on the rise in other nations. As CNN points out, a bill to legalize abortion in Pope Francis’ home country of Argentina ultimately failed, but not before it was approved by the Parliament’s lower house. And Ireland, a majority Catholic country, last month repealed a constitutional amendment banning abortion, a move that was lauded by pro-choice activists. Meanwhile, in Italy, abortion rights seem to be going the other way. The city council of Verona recently declared the city “pro-life” and is funding anti-abortion groups while launching an initiative to “prevent abortion and promote motherhood.” Below, watch video of the pope’s remarks.
Read the full story at The Guardian.