Vatican should change birth control rules says Cabinet minister

A cabinet minister in Britain’s Conservative Party wants Catholic Church leaders to change Catholic teaching on birth control.

Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary, met with Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, and the head of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson.

The discussions focused on development, Africa, women’s empowerment, LGBT rights, religious freedom, female genital mutilation, child marriage and violence against women and girls.

She says faith leaders should help change “deeply held beliefs and attitudes” in order to allow women greater access to “reproductive healthcare.”

Mordaunt says she “urged” Vatican officials to make it easier for young girls to have access to contraception.

She cited “the tragedy of 800 girls and women unnecessarily losing their lives every day through pregnancy or childbirth complications” to back up her argument.

“Everyone deserves the right to a safe childhood, to an education and to a life without fear.

“For many girls, this is not the case. Child marriage and a lack of control over their own bodies or access to reproductive healthcare, including contraception, means many girls have no hope of completing an education,” she says.

“It is crucial we engage with faith leaders to help us challenge deeply held beliefs and attitudes.

“The Catholic Church can help us in that, and my appeal to them was to help us save lives, especially of young mothers.

“As we work with African leaders to help them build their nations it is vital that family planning is part of that plan. It will save lives and huge suffering.”

Last July the British government hosted a Family Planning Summit.

At this, the government pledged to support the use of “voluntary modern contraception” by women around the world.

Mordaunt’s comments coincide with the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. The encyclical underlines the Church’s teaching that artificial contraception is wrong.

Last month, 500 British priests signed a letter endorsing the encyclical.


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