.- The president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, encouraged doctors who defend life and oppose abortion to exercise their right to conscientious objection in response to the decision by health care officials to allow the sale of the abortion drug RU-486.
In an interview with the Italian daily Avvenire, Cardinal Bagnasco warned the decision encourages Italians to view “abortion as a contraceptive, something that law 194 absolutely forbids,” and he expressed his “sadness, bitterness and care” over the position of health care officials, which he called a “crack in our society.”
Where there is no respect for human life, the cardinal went on, “from conception in its fragility and later during its course, society is less human. That the right of the strongest thus prevails is bitter.” Behind this society, he added, “is an individualistic culture, hidden under respect for the freedom of women,” who “in reality experience a tragedy, live in suffering and worry; when a truly human culture ought to take care of them.”
“A courageous, clear voice arguing at all levels” needs to be raised, the cardinal stated, saying that Catholics must urgently work to defend the lives of the unborn and of women, especially in the area of politics and law.
In response to the legalization of RU-486, Cardinal Bagnasco also encouraged “the spread of conscientious objection based on profound convictions” as a witness to public opinion.
According to recently released data, 70.5% of Italian doctors exercise their right to conscientiously object to abortion. This fact, according to the cardinal, “should make us reflect about the sensitivity that is still strongly rooted in the hearts of Italians.”