Healthcare workers have a non-negotiable right to exercise conscientious objection by refusing to participate in an abortion, Pope Francis said Thursday, calling the procedure “murder.”
It was at least the third time in a month that the Pope came out strongly against abortion, which has become a major political issue in several countries, including the United States.
Last week, a US appeals court temporarily reinstated Texas’ restrictive abortion law, which bans the procedure at six weeks pregnant and outsources the ban to ordinary citizens.
“Today it has become a bit fashionable to think that perhaps it would be good to end conscientious objection (in the medical field),” he told participants at a conference in Rome of hospital pharmacists.
“Conscientious objection should never be negotiated, it is the ultimate responsibility of health professionals,” he said, adding that it is particularly applicable to abortion.
“Know that in this I am very clear: it is murder and it is never lawful to be an accomplice,” he said.
Most countries have laws that provide for some form of conscientious objection by health professionals, but abortion rights activists say that not all are fulfilling their duty to refer a woman to another doctor.
In some Scandinavian countries, doctors are prohibited from refusing to provide any medical care that is legal.
Last month, Francis told reporters on the plane returning from Slovakia that abortion was “murder,” even shortly after conception, but appeared to criticize some American Catholic bishops for grappling with the pro-abortion position of the American President Joe Biden in a political rather than pastoral way. .
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that life begins at the moment of conception.
In June, a divided conference of U.S. Catholic bishops voted to draft a statement on communion that could admonish Catholic politicians, including Biden. They should take up the subject again next month.
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