Pope Francis addresses participants of digital conference on the importance of protecting children online

Pope Francis on Saturday, May 25, restated that abortion is always unacceptable, even when the foetus is gravely sick or most likely to die. He compared abortion to the same as hiring a 'hitman'.

The speech was made by the Pope while addressing a conference sponsored by the Vatican on anti-abortion. Pope Francis said that the opposition to abortion isn't a religious issue but a human one. "Is it legitimate to kill human life to resolve a problem? Is it licit to hire a contract killer to resolve a problem?" he asked.

The pope also condemned the decision to abort on the basis of prenatal diagnosis. "Human beings are never incompatible with life". He said that every child is a gift that changes the history of a family and this child needs to be welcomed, loved and cared for. And in certain cases where the child is destined to die at birth also deserves medical attention, adding that the parents also need support for this, so that they don't feel isolated.

Pope Francis has spoken out strongly against abortion earlier also, he has also expressed sympathy for the women who have done abortion. He used similar "paid killer" remarks in relation to abortion in October 2018, sparking a sharp reaction in medical circles, reports NDTV.

The Pope's remarks come at a time when the debate on abortion is gripping once again in the United States. An anti-abortion rally in Rome last weekend attracted the church's conservative leaders, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American Vatican official who many consider being the leader of the anti-Francis faction in the church. Attendees at the rally held up signs of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the pope's more conservative predecessors, reports The New York Times.

Since his election as the Pope in 2013, Francis has sought to derogate issues like abortion, which according to the Roman Catholic Church is a grave sin.