Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has spoken in support of the Polish bishops’ campaign against abortion.
In his homily at a Mass for the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, Cardinal Nichols referred to the Polish bishops’ attempts to eliminate abortion, saying: “Some want to argue that abortion can be a right in conscience. This cannot be so because abortion is always the destruction of innocent life.”
The bishops have called for a legal ban on abortions, saying that Poland’s current law – which permits abortion in cases of rape, incest, threats to the mother’s life and some cases of disability, and permits around 200 abortions per year – could not be justified.
A new draft law would outlaw all abortions except to save the mother’s life. It has the backing of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, whose Law and Justice party has a majority in the 460-seat Sejm lower house.
The bishops also called for “programmes to ensure concrete help for parents of sick and handicapped children and those conceived through rape”.
Cardinal Nichols applauded the bishops’ call for better social support, saying: “This is the work that we all need to do to create the circumstances in which recourse to abortion is recognised for what it is: the destruction of an innocent human life and a tragic intervention into a woman’s life.” Abortion is never the best choice, the cardinal added.
Last month, a number of Catholics wrote an open letter arguing against a new law, saying that it would be “a violation of a woman’s freedom of conscience”.
One of the letter’s signatories, Tina Beattie, volunteers as an advisor to the Catholic development charity Cafod. Cafod issued a statement saying: “The opinion expressed in the letter does not represent nor reflect Cafod’s policies.”