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Holy See criticizes French move to enshrine abortion rights

French President Macron greets Pope Francis

HANDOUT | AFP

John Burger - published on 02/09/24

A Vatican News editorial was published a week after parliament voted on constitutional amendment: "Human development from conception has been no secret for decades."

The Holy See has issued a statement against a French proposal to enshrine abortion in the national Constitution, asking, “How is it possible to enshrine a norm that allows the death of a person in the fundamental Charter of a State while at the same time protecting the human person?”

France’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, voted overwhelmingly last week to pass legislation that would eventually lead to making the right to “voluntarily interrupt” one’s pregnancy a constitutional right.

The bill, introduced by French President Emmanuel Macron, heads now to the Senate, where support might not be as strong. The two chambers have to agree on exactly the same version, and then the measure would have to be approved by either three-fifths of lawmakers from both houses gathered for a special session or by a popular referendum.

On Wednesday, Vatican News published an editorial with the headline “France moving towards a Constitution against life.” 

“We live in a technologically advanced, digitally connected society,” the editorial says. “Human development from conception has been no secret for decades. We use words like pre-embryo, embryo, newborn, child, teenager, adult, elderly to indicate stages of development where the number of cells changes, cognitive appearance changes, the need for assistance changes, but it is always a human person.”

The article quotes from Pope Francis on his recent visit to Marseille [depicted above, with Macron], saying he called for policies that promote life, welcoming, and fraternity.

“He reflected on the tragedy of discarding human life, which takes on various forms, from the rejected lives of migrants to those of unborn children or abandoned elderly, asking us not to turn a blind eye, to love, to recognize the other: whether on a boat in the middle of the sea or in the most vulnerable condition in the womb of a mother,” the editorial says.

“Often, we find ourselves trapped in sterile political or ideological oppositions, but the challenge is to enact laws and amend constitutions with proposals for life, not for death,” Vatican News continued. “To help is to love; it is to be free to choose. And this fraternal horizon, which takes care of the other, of the person, builds societies that do not resign themselves but walk towards an authentic culture of welcome, sharing, and peace.”

Tags:
AbortionFranceHoly SeePope FrancisVatican
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