Pope Francis has spoken out against abortion and said that terminating a pregnancy is the same as ‘hiring a hitman to resolve a problem’.
As he spoke at his weekly audience at St Peter’s square the Pope said that ‘a contradictory approach to life allows the suppression of human life in the mother’s womb in order to safeguard other values’.
He asked his followers: “How can an act that suppresses an innocent and helpless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or, simply, humane?”
The Pope concluded that it was not right to take a human life, no matter how small.
He said: “Is it fair to hire a hit man to solve a problem? It is not fair. We cannot take out a human being, even if it is small.
His speech came as far right groups in Italy have been have been campaigning to restrict or even ban the procedure, while women’s rights groups have been campaigning to make the whole process feel safer.
Italy voted to legalise abortion nearly 40 years ago. However, it is still not easy for women to have an abortion as up to 70% of doctors refuse to perform one for ‘moral reasons’.
The northern Italian city of Verona is led by the far-right League party. Councillors have now announced that Verona is a ‘pro-life’ city and passed an initiative to fund anti-abortion groups and promote projects to enable mothers to give up their children for adoption anonymously.
However, women’s groups believe it is the latest in a string of populist proposals that could have a dire impact on domestic violence victims.
Italy has one of the highest femicide rates in Europe with 149 women murdered in 2016 – 76 by a current or former partner.
Italy’s Family minister is openly anti-abortion and Lella Palladino of D.i.Re, the Women against Violence Network said: “Every time he speaks he does terrifying damage.
“We worry that any progress made to date on women’s rights will be set back.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling