Pope speaks out against abortion, gay relationships

Danny McCoy | January 16, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI
VATICAN CITY, Rome — Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday that doctors should not give women the abortion pill because it hides the "gravity" of taking a human life, and also said it was wrong to give legal recognition to gay unions.

Benedict once again reaffirmed church teaching on both abortion and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman during an audience with officials from Rome and its surrounding Lazio region.

Benedict said pregnant women, particularly those in difficult situations, needed concrete help, and said officials should "avoid introducing drugs that hide in some way the gravity of abortion, as a choice against life."

Abortion up to the end of the third month of pregnancy was legalized in predominantly Catholic Italy in 1978, after a long battle with the Vatican. Recently, the abortion pill RU-486 became available in parts of Italy on an experimental basis.

The Italian Bishops' Conference has mounted a renewed fight against abortion and the RU-486 pill, turning abortion into a campaign issue for the first time since Italians upheld the law in a 1981 referendum the church sponsored in a bid to overturn it.

Benedict also stressed that marriage between man and woman was the cornerstone of society and not some "casual sociological construction" that could be replaced.

"It's a serious error to obscure the value and function of the legitimate family founded on matrimony, attributing to other forms of unions improper legal recognition, for which there really is no social need," he said.

Gay and lesbian associations in Italy have been pushing for common law couples to have legal recognition in hopes the move might pave the way for granting legal status to gay couples. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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