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Help women resist pressure to abort, Pope urges

February 28, 2011

Society as a whole, and health-care personnel in particular, should help women resist the pressure to have abortions, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Women facing difficult pregnancies often feel tremendous pressure, the Holy Father said. Meeting on February 26 with the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who are in Rome for their plenary meeting, the Pope observed that the discussion of abortion should “focus attention on the sometimes-clouded conscience of the children's fathers, who often abandon pregnant women.”

Health-care workers should help pregnant women look at their situation responsible, so that they are not “tricked into believing that abortion will resolve family, economic and social difficulties, or the health problems of their child,” the Pope continued. He lamented that doctors are sometimes guilty of persuading women that abortion is “even even a 'therapeutic' act necessary to avoid suffering for the child and its family, and to remove an 'unjust' burden from society.”

In the long run, the Pontiff continued, the responsibility to support pregnant women “concerns not only the medical profession and health-care workers; society as a whole must defend the conceived child's right to life and the true good of the woman.”

The Pontifical Academy for Life, meeting under its new president, Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, will be discussing the post-abortion syndrome, which produces depression, other health problems, and sometimes self-destructive behavior in women who regret their abortions. That syndrome, the Pope observed, shows that it is difficult to escape “the irrepressible voice of moral conscience and the terrible wound it suffers each time a human action betrays the human being's innate vocation to good.” Commenting on another topic that the Pontifical Academy will discuss, the medical use of stem cells taken from umbilical cords, the Pope said that research in that field is very promising, but continued advances will depend on the donation of umbilical cords for research use.


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  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Feb. 28, 2011 6:28 PM ET USA

    So, all you "Catholic" pols who say you want abortion to be "safe, legal, and rare": if you're really serious about the "rare" part, you might occasionally say something to discourage women from having an abortion. Of course, that would grandly irritate your contributors at Planned Parenthood, but offer it up.