Pope Francis insisted Thursday that abortion was always a crime but hinted that the Church could exceptionally relax its ban on contraception for women at risk of contracting the Zika virus.
“Abortion is not a lesser evil. It is a crime,” Francis said in response to a question about how best to combat the outbreak across Latin America of the virus linked to birth defects.
But he added: “Avoiding a pregnancy is not an absolute evil.”
The 79-year-old pontiff recalled that one of his predecessors, Paul VI (1963-1978) had authorised nuns working in Africa to use contraceptives in light of a high risk of them being raped by soldiers.
“We must not confuse the evil consisted of avoiding a pregnancy with abortion,” Francis said. “Abortion is not a theological problem. It is a human problem, medical. One person is killed to save another. It is evil in itself, it is not a religious evil, it is a human evil.
“On the contrary, avoiding a pregnancy and, in the cases of Paul VI which I have cited, it was clear.
“I would also urge doctors to do everything they can to develop a vaccine.”
The United Nations and aid organisations have urged countries hit by the virus to ensure women have access to contraception to reduce the risk of infection and the right to abortion should they decide to terminate a pregnancy.
Many Latin American countries outlaw abortion or allow it only if the mother’s life is in danger.
After initially saying little about the outbreak, Catholic leaders in the region have recently begun to assert the Church’s opposition to what it terms “artificial” birth control and abortion.
Instead of using condoms or the contraceptive pill, Church officials have been recommending abstinence or what they term natural family planning — scheduling sexual relations for the least fertile periods of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
‘Anyone who tried to impact outcome of election should spend life in jail’: Lewandowski
On Tuesday, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Lewandowski's appearance before Congress was significant because Donald Trump reportedly told him to tell Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of Mueller's Russia probe.
Lewandowski was defiant in his opening statement, slamming the investigation as biased and knocking Hillary Clinton. He also declared that any entity that tried to meddle in a U.S. election should be in prison.
He said that he handled as many as a thousand emails. "And unlike Hillary Clinton, I don't think I ever deleted any of those," Lewandowski said. "Many of them were either responded to with one-word answers or floated to other staff for additional follow-up. But throughout it all, and to the best of my recollection, I don't recall ever having any conversations with foreign entities, let alone any who were operating to manipulate the outcome of an election."
‘Ranting toddler’ Doug Collins gets clobbered online after he turns Lewandowski hearing into a ‘clown show’
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the ranking Republican member on the House Judiciary Committee, was brutally mocked on Tuesday after he unleashed a bizarre rant during the testimony of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Collins began his testimony by blasting Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) for hauling Lewandowski before the committee.
"Here we go again," Collins complained in an animated opening statement. "We had Mr. Mueller here, and long day, and it did not go well for what you have proclaimed for over one year and nine months, and what you claim is impeachment criteria. And now, the members have said that the president should be impeached, and so why are we investigating?"
American neo-Nazis now see 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden as a role model: report
A new report from Vice claims that white supremacist organizations are increasingly viewing Osama Bin Laden, the late mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as a role model whose actions can influence the future of their movement.
The report finds that neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division has recently started using Bin Laden's image in its propaganda while also promoting Islamist extremists' willingness to commit mass murder in the name of their religion as something that should be inspiring to American white nationalists.