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.
Don Lemon notes the GOP panic after their own witnesses gave testimony harming Trump: ‘Worried much?’
CNN anchor Don Lemon explained how witnesses called by Republicans in the impeachment inquiry destoryed the defenses employed by President Donald Trump and his allies.
"Now, let's just be honest, the shakedown -- that's exactly what it is -- the shakedown is exposed, people," Lemon said.
"And the evidence comes from the Republican's own witnesses," he noted. "The former envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker -- who resigned just one day after the release of the whistleblower's report -- telling the president's defenders exactly what they did not want to hear."
"They called him apparently expecting him to say what he said in his closed-door testimony, that he saw no evidence of a quid pro quo, or let's call it for what it is again -- a shakedown," he continued. "Well, now he says he was wrong."
Trump declares it was a ‘great day for the GOP’ — and is mercilessly ridiculed for his absurd claim
President Donald Trump responded to the end of the day's impeachment hearings by saying that it was a great day for the Republican Party and for the United States. There were many people who disagreed, however.
Every person who testified before Congress has said that Trump's obsession with Joe Biden was concerning enough to alert others. Even National Security Council aide Tim Morrison stressed that he didn’t believe there was anything inappropriate about the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But when Rep. Val Demmings (D-FL) asked him why then he felt the need to report it if there was nothing wrong, Morrison struggled to find an answer.
Four shootings in Philly — in 20-minutes — leave one dead and five wounded
Police in Philadelphia are spending Monday evening responding to multiple shootings.
"Police are investigating four separate shootings that left one man dead as gunfire erupted across Philadelphia Tuesday night," CBS Philly reports.
One man was killed and two wounded in a triple shooting in the Logan section.
Another man was shot four times in East Mount Airy.
A man is in stable condition after being shot in the chest in Kingsessing.