Pope Francis condemned abortion as a violation of the “most fundamental right” during a recent meeting with American bishops.
The Catholic News Service reports the pope told the bishops that protecting human life, especially unborn babies, is a “preeminent priority.”
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of Kansas City, Kansas, and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, related their conversation about abortion with Pope Francis to CNS on Thursday.
“His response to that was, ‘Of course, it is. It’s the most fundamental right,’” Naumann said. “He said, ‘This is not first a religious issue; it’s a human rights issue,’ which is so true.”
Naumann said Pope Francis was shocked when they told him that more than 61 million unborn babies have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade.
“I think the pope was truly kind of stunned by that number,” Naumann said. “Sadly, our abortion policies are one of the most liberal in the world. The fact is that it really is literally for all nine months of pregnancy. Most other nations don’t permit (abortions) at least at a certain point in the pregnancy.”
Because of Roe v. Wade, the United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some states allow unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth.
Here’s more from the report:
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis told CNS it was “beautiful” when the pope explained why life was the number one, most important issue, “because if you’re not alive you can’t do anything else.”
Carlson said they also talked about the importance of supporting pregnant women and making sure they have the resources they need to support that life.
Pope Francis has been a leading voice for life in the world. In 2018, he caused outrage among abortion activists after comparing abortion to “hiring a hitman” to kill unborn babies. He frequently condemns abortion, describing aborted babies as victims of a “throwaway culture.”