Pope Francis likened getting an abortion to “hiring a hitman” during an address at the Vatican on Wednesday.
“I ask you: Is it right to ‘take out’ a human life to solve a problem? What do you think? Is it right? Is it right or not?” Francis asked the thousands of people in attendance, according to Reuters.
When the crowd responded “No,” the pope continued: “Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? It is not right to kill a human being, regardless of how small it is to solve a problem.”
Some outlets, including Reuters and The Guardian, translated Francis’ comments as likening abortion to hiring “a hitman.” Other outlets, such as Al Jazeera and Politico, translated Francis’ quote as saying “a contract killer.” Either way, his meaning is clear.
“A contradictory approach allows the suppression of human life in the mother’s womb in the name of safeguarding other rights,” Francis said earlier in his address, according to Reuters. “But how can an act that suppresses an innocent and helpless life that is germinating be therapeutic, civilized or even simply human?”
Francis’ comments are in line with his last remarks on abortion, which he made in June. He denounced abortion at the time, and likened it to the “white glove” equivalent to Nazi-era eugenics practices.
“Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves,” Francis said, adding that families should accept children “as God gives them to us.”