Pope Francis on Saturday compared abortion to the hiring of a hitman.
“Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem? Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?”
Pope Francis was addressing a conference organized in the Vatican by the Department for Laity, Family, and Life. The conference with the theme “Yes to Life: Caring for the precious gift of life in its frailness,” was attended by medical professionals, bioethicists, priests and families from 70 countries.
The aim of the conference was to find the best possible ways of helping medically, psychologically and emotionally parents expecting a child with a life-limiting illness, meaning that the baby is likely to before or just after birth.
Read: Pope Decries Abortion
Abortion never the answer – Pope
Pope Francis stressed that taking care of these children with life-limiting illness “helps parents to process mourning… That child will remain in their lives forever”.
He said that abortion is never the answer to difficult prenatal diagnoses, calling selective abortion of the disabled the “expression of an inhuman eugenics mentality.”
He said that sometimes it is fear and hostility towards disability that leads parents to choose an abortion.
“But the Church’s teaching on this point is clear: human life is sacred and inviolable and the use of prenatal diagnosis for selective purposes must be strongly discouraged because it is the expression of an inhuman eugenics mentality, which removes the possibility for families to accept, embrace and love their weakest children,” he said.
The conference which was attended by Malta’s pro-life campaigner Dr. Miriam Sciberras heard the testimony of several parents who lived through this experience.
Amy Kuebelbeck shared her experience of carrying her unborn son who had an incurable heart defect and died just over two hours after he was born. She also documented her experience in the book “Waiting with Gabriel: A Story of Cherishing a Baby’s Brief Life.”
Dr. Byron Calhoun, who first came up with the phrase “perinatal hospice” said that research shows that allowing parents of newborns with such terminal conditions the possibility to be parents even for a short period of time helps mothers more than pregnancy termination.
Around the world one can find more than 300 hospitals and hospices that provide perinatal palliative.
“Networks of love”
On the last day of the conference Pope Francis met several perinatal hospice providers.
The Pope compared their work to the creation of “networks of love” and heartily thanked all the providers of this service.
He described their witnessing as a gift to the world.
“Taking care of these children helps parents to mourn and to think of this not only as a loss, but as a step in a journey together. … Those few hours in which a mother can lull her child can leave a mark on the heart of that woman that she will never forget,” he said.