Abortion Is "Deep Wound," Says Pope

Calls It the "Opposite" of a Human Right

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VIENNA, Austria, SEPT. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Abortion is not only a "deep wound" in society, it is also the antithesis of a human right, says Benedict XVI.



The Pope delivered this message today to the members of government and diplomatic corps in Austria, during an address in the reception hall of Vienna's Hofburg Palace, the seat of the Austrian presidency.

On the first day of the Holy Father's seventh international apostolic trip, he called for the defense of human rights: "The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself.

"This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right -- it is the very opposite."

"It is 'a deep wound in society,'" the Pontiff said, recalling a phrase often repeated by Cardinal Franz König, a former archbishop of Vienna who died in 2004.

Advocate

Benedict XVI continued: "In stating this, I am not expressing a specifically ecclesial concern. Rather, I am acting as advocate for a profoundly human need, speaking out on behalf of those unborn children who have no voice.

"I do not close my eyes to the difficulties and the conflicts which many women are experiencing, and I realize that the credibility of what we say also depends on what the Church herself is doing to help women in trouble."

The Pope then appealed "to political leaders not to allow children to be considered as a form of illness, nor to abolish in practice your legal system's acknowledgment that abortion is wrong."

"I say this out of a concern for humanity," he clarified.

The Holy Father also made reference to euthanasia, or "actively assisted death."

He warned, "It is to be feared that at some point the gravely ill or elderly will be subjected to tacit or even explicit pressure to request death or to administer it to themselves."