Protecting life is a matter of human ethics

Above all, protecting life is about human ethics, says Pope Francis in a letter to Argentine anti-abortion protesters dated 22 November.

Thousands of protesters took to Argentina’s streets on Saturday. They were holding Argentine flags and wearing the sky-blue scarves that identify them as anti-abortionists.

The protesters also carried signs with slogans like “Save Both Lives!” and “March for the Unborn.”

The pope’s handwritten letter is now doing the social media rounds. It is addressed to a group of Argentine women protesting a proposal to legalise abortion.

The women come from the shantytowns of Buenos Aires where Francis used to minister. For several years they have been opposing efforts to decriminalise abortion.

Procuring an abortion is like paying a murderer, Francis points out.

The question of human ethics needs to be considered, he suggests.

“Is it fair to eliminate a human life to solve a problem? Is it fair to hire a hit man to solve a problem?”

This is not the first time Francis has used the hit man analogy in relation to abortion.

“Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem?” he said at a Vatican-sponsored anti-abortion conference in 2019.

“Is it licit to hire a hit man to resolve a problem?”.

Francis – who is also from Argentina – is grateful to the women for their activism.

“The country is proud to have women like you,” he says.

President Alberto Fernandez announced earlier this month that he would present a bill to legalise abortion.

Doing so will save lives by preventing women from resorting to unsafe, clandestine procedures, he says.

Fernandez campaigned on promises he would propose legislation to legalise it.

This is the first opportunity he has had to put his proposal into action.

Francis has always strongly upheld Catholic doctrine forbidding abortion.

He denounces it as part of today’s “throwaway culture”. This culture doesn’t respect the dignity of the unborn, the weak or elderly, he says.

He offers a merciful approach to women who have resorted to abortion, however.

They may seek absolution from a priest. In the past only bishops were allowed to absolve women seeking forgiveness for abortion.


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