.- The vice president of the Supreme Court of Nicaragua, Justice Rafael Solis, said this week a draft ruling exists to decriminalize abortion in the country, and to the surprise of many, he argued that the ruling would be based on one of Pope Benedict XVI’s discourses in Angola.
The ruling is related to a lawsuit filed by some feminist groups challenging the constitutionality of a law passed in October of 2006 that outlawed therapeutic abortion. Solis told a local news program that the draft ruling would legalize “therapeutic abortion” in Nicaragua. “We need to see if in cases of illness women are given the priority to save their lives, which is what the Pope said last week in Africa,” he said.
However, Pope Benedict XVI did not speak about this kind of abortion in Africa, and apparently Solis was attributing to the Pope statements made by the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi.
On Saturday, March 21, in Angola, Father Lombardi explained the Pope’s condemnation of abortion saying, “Benedict XVI has not said that indirect abortion should be rejected, he has only spoken out against the programs of reproductive health that defend abortion as a means of population control.” Lombardi’s statements were distorted by part of the media which reported that the Church had changed its position on therapeutic abortion.
CNA spoke with Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren, president of the Committee on Life and the Family of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference, who explained that indirect abortion is not the same as therapeutic abortion.
Archbishop Eguren said, “During his trip to Africa, the Pope neither changed nor broadened the teaching of the Church on abortion. Father Federico Lombardi—not the Pope—said the Church does not condemn indirect abortion. This kind of abortion is when the death of the unborn child is a result of a medical action that has a completely distinct objective from that of preventing birth. This moral case, which is completely extraordinary, has nothing to do with so-called ‘therapeutic abortion,’ which for both common sense and Catholic doctrine simply does not exist: abortion is never a cure for anything.”
“Today,” the archbishop continued, “there is practically no medical situation which requires choosing between the health of the mother and the health of the baby, and therefore, this kind of abortion is nothing more than an excuse to legalize in our countries this intrinsically perverse act that is always morally and medically unjustifiable.”