On Sunday Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, Archbishop of Lima, Peru, chided Peruvian Minister of Health, Pilar Mazzetti, warning her “not to play with life” by denying the abortifacient nature of the morning after pill.
In reaction to Mazzetti’s decision to distribute the morning after pill through the country’s family planning services, the Cardinal warned in his Sunday homily that the country has entered a discussion “full of half-lies and half-truths.”
Although Mazzetti and promoters of the drug in Peru claim it only prevents ovulation and not implantation of a fertilized ovum, the manufacturer of the drug as well as the Food and Drug Administration in the US recognize the existence of a “third mechanism” of the drug which can prevent implantation of the embryo in the wall of the uterus, thus causing an abortion.
The Cardinal lamented the public comments of the Health Minister that she would have to have “the proof in her hands” in order to acknowledge the pill’s abortifacient nature.
“Do not play with wife,” he said, directing his comments to Mazzetti. “What do you want, a fertilized ovum in your hands? Do you want a fetus in your hands? What are trying to say with such a political statement?”
“We are talking about lives, not about a political problem, or an ideological problem. It is a very serious problem, it is life and therefore let’s speak the truth,” he said.
“I think we need to be more honest in our choice of words. The Church is not attacking science. Science tells me: be careful with that pill. We do not know for sure that it is safe for women’s health, but what we do know is that a woman who has had sexual relations and takes that pill is killing any possibility of life,” warned the Cardinal.
He called on Peruvians to resist international pressure and pressure from local groups to impose a mentality that does not defend the unborn.
“We must clearly expose the truth, but let us not have a tax-payer funded government ministry imposing an alternative” which, according to available scientific data, “is abortifacient and is an attack on the Constitution.”
According to Cardinal Cipriani, it is repudiating that public taxes are being used to purchase anti-life pills by a government ministry that is supposed to “protect health and unite Peruvian families, alleviate malnutrition in children and keep them from contracting respiratory illnesses in this cold season in Lima.”
He called on authorities to “have the honor to say that one of the characteristics of this pill” is “to prevent a fertilized ovum, an embryo that now has its own life, from implantation in the uterus where it has a place to develop.”
Although there is not yet definitive proof regarding this mechanism of the pill, the Cardinal said that to promote it or to consume it is akin to getting into an airplane without knowing whether or not it has enough fuel for the flight.
He recalled that his mission as shepherd is to explain the teaching of the Church and to exhort young couples that if they need to postpone or space their children, they should do so in a responsible way.
Catholics are called to a holiness that includes defending the unborn, he added. This extends to life in all its stages, he said, no matter age, condition of life, or economic status.
Cardinal Cipriani said that today people lead two lives, separating their human necessities from the relationship with God, and “this is not coherent with the faith.”
“Thank God our parents had the courage to accept the laws of God and the laws of science,” he exclaimed.