April 29, 2014 — Pope Francis on Friday expressed his "strong opposition" to abortion while speaking to a group of African bishops, marking a "departure" for a pope who mostly has avoided the topic, the Religion News Service/Washington Post reports.
According to the RNS/Post, Francis made the remarks to bishops from Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland while discussing issues they are facing in their communities, such as abortion, divorce, and violence against women and children.
Francis said, "Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God's gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn."
Francis also mentioned abortion two weeks ago while addressing members of Italy's antiabortion-rights movement. He said, "Let us remember the words of the Second Vatican Council: From the moment of its conception, life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes" (Mckenna, Religion News Service/Washington Post, 4/25).