Pope Francis links saving the planet to ending abortion

Leader of the Catholic Church has expressed his anti-abortion views before

Pope Francis’s has explicitly linked protecting the environment with protecting the life of an unborn child in his encyclical.

The publication of the Pope’s first solely authored encyclical has been widely celebrated by environmentalists, climate change campaigners and other religious leaders.

However, the text confirms the Pope’s views on abortion and the sanctity of life in line with traditional Roman Catholic teaching.

“Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion,” Francis writes.

He continues that humanity can never learn the value of “other vulnerable beings” if we “fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties”.

Kate Smurthwaite, vice-chair and media spokesperson for Abortion Rights UK, told The Independent that she was “unsurprised” at the Pope’s recent remarks and labelled them “terrible news for the planet”.

She said the remarks were an important reminder that “he’s not the great transformer that people would like him to be.”

“The reality is that one of the environmental problems is over-population,” she continued. “That’s not really a reason to or not to allow people their reproductive rights, but they are a basic rights which many women around the world would like to have.”

The Pope has addressed this issue before. At the beginning of last year he denounced abortion, telling diplomats in an address at the Vatican that it was “horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day”.

His comments were welcomed by conservative elements in the Catholic Church – no doubt concerned by his liberal leanings towards the poor, as well as the LGBT community – but dismayed pro-abortion campaigners.

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