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Pope Francis: Peace Begins with Respect for ‘the Life of the Unborn Child’

Pope Francis urged for an end to abortion Monday, insisting the path to peace calls for respect for human life, “starting with the life of the unborn child in the mother’s womb.”

This life “cannot be suppressed or turned into an object of trafficking,” the pontiff told a group of international diplomats accredited to the Holy See. The pope has likened abortion to hiring a contract killer to take out a child.

In Monday’s address, he went on to condemn the “deplorable” practice of surrogate motherhood, which “represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs.”

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” the pope continued, while urging “an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

At every moment of its existence, human life must be preserved and defended, he said, while noting “with regret, especially in the West, the continued spread of a culture of death, which in the name of a false compassion discards children, the elderly and the sick.”

It is unclear why the pope singled out the West, since the highest abortion rates in the world are in Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Eastern Africa, and South-eastern Asia.

In his message, Francis also said that the path to peace calls for respect for human rights more generally, “in accordance with the simple yet clear formulation contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose seventy-fifth anniversary we recently celebrated.”

These principles, he said, are self-evident and commonly accepted.

Regrettably, however, “in recent decades attempts have been made to introduce new rights that are neither fully consistent with those originally defined nor always acceptable.”

They have led to instances of ideological colonization, “in which gender theory plays a central role,” he continued.

Gender theory “is extremely dangerous since it cancels differences in its claim to make everyone equal,” he said. “These instances of ideological colonization prove injurious and create divisions between states, rather than fostering peace.”

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