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Pope Francis suggests contraception warranted to avoid Zika virus

Pope Francis suggests contraception warranted to avoid Zika virus

From the Associated Press

In one of his open dialogues on the papal plane back to Rome from Mexico, the Pope suggested that women threatened by the Zika virus could use contraceptives despite Roman Catholic teaching to the contrary.  The fear of Zika has led some nations in affected areas to urge women to avoid pregnancy and energized pro-choice groups there to call for a lessening of strict anti-abortion laws.

But Francis excluded abortion absolutely from the debate.

“Abortion isn’t a lesser evil, it’s a crime,” he told reporters. “Taking one life to save another, that’s what the Mafia does. It’s a crime. It’s an absolute evil.”

Francis, however, drew a parallel to the decision taken by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s to approve giving nuns in Belgian Congo artificial contraception to prevent pregnancies because they were being systematically raped.

Abortion “is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil at its root, no? It’s a human evil,” he said. “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one (Zika), such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

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Leslie Marshall

Good idea. I think its amazing how this Pope is single handedly re writing Catholic Doctrine. I also wonder what the backlash will be. [Allowing priests to marry would be a good next move.]

In the most Zika-affected area in Brazil, 1 in 100 infants are born with microcephaly. So it makes sense that contraception would be allowed to avoid other high risk pregnancies as well.

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Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

Congratulations! This is a better decision than the one the Vatican (Pope) made at the onset of AIDS. Learning to live within the human condition has taken them a while.

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JC Fisher

"the decision taken by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s to approve giving nuns in Belgian Congo artificial contraception to prevent pregnancies because they were being systematically raped"

I've heard this story before, but this is the first time I've seen it formally acknowledged by the Vatican! 😮

Compared to that decision---problematic on several levels (mainly re race)---an affirmation re contraception in the face of the Zika virus seems a no-brainer (but no less revolutionary for Rome).

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