CNA Staff, Nov 24, 2020 / 20:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Argentine president Alberto Fernández said Sunday he hopes Pope Francis won’t be angry because of a bill he introduced in the country’s legislature to legalize abortion. The president, a Catholic, said he had to introduce the bill to solve "a public health problem in Argentina.”
Fernández made the statement Nov. 22 on the Argentine television program Corea del Centro.
In defense of his position, the president explained “I am a Catholic, but I have to solve a problem in Argentine society. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is the president of France who approved abortion in France, and the pope at that time demanded to know how being a Catholic he was promoting that, and the answer was ‘I govern many French people who aren’t Catholics and I have to solve a public health problem.'”
“That’s what’s going on with me more or less. Beyond that, no matter how Catholic one is, on the issue of abortion, it seems to me that this is a different discussion. I don’t agree very much with the logic of the Church on that issue,” Fernández said.
The president’s reference to a public health crisis seemed to refer to unsubstantiated claims from abortion advocates in the country, who claim that women in Argentina die frequently from so-called “clandestine” or unsafe illegal abortions in the country. In a Nov. 12 interview Bishop Alberto Bochatey, who heads the Argentine bishops’ conference healthcare ministry, challenged those assertions.