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Pope Francis on Wednesday compared having an abortion to “hiring a hitman” during an address at the Vatican. “I ask you: Is it right to ‘take out’ a human life to solve a problem? What do you think? Is it right? Is it right or not?” Francis asked the thousands of people in attendance, according to Reuters.
The pontiff told his weekly general audience at St Peter’s Square that “a contradictory approach to life allows the suppression of human life in the mother’s womb in order to safeguard other values”. “But how can an act that suppresses an innocent and helpless life that is germinating be therapeutic, civilized or even simply human,” Francis asked. “Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? You cannot, it is not right to kill a human being, regardless of how small it is, to solve a problem. It is like hiring a hitman to solve a problem,” the Pope said.
Around 56 million abortions are performed each year in the world, with about 45% done unsafely. Unsafe abortions are done in the parts of the world where women cannot get a legal procedure. As of 2008, 40% of the world's women had access to legal abortions without limits as to reason. Countries that permit abortions have different limits on how late in pregnancy abortion is allowed. Three countries in Latin America (Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Nicaragua) and two in Europe (Malta and the Vatican City) ban the procedure entirely.
The Roman Catholic Church also forbids euthanasia but says that a family or a patient can decide to stop using extraordinary means to keep people alive. The Church teaches that life begins at the moment of conception and ends at the moment of natural death.
The Guardian reports that councilors in Verona, which is led by the far-right League party, last week declared the northern Italian city “pro-life”, passing an initiative that would “prevent abortion and promote motherhood” by funding anti-abortion group. Additionally, the initiative will promote a project that would enable women to anonymously give up their babies for adoption.
The motion was put forward in May to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Italy’s vote to legalise abortion. Despite the law, it is extremely difficult for women to access a safe abortion as more than 70% of gynaecologists refuse to terminate pregnancies for their own moral reasons.
In June 2018, Pope Francis denounced abortion as the “white glove” equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program. “Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves,” Francis said, adding that families should accept children “as God gives them to us.”