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Pope Francis says abortion like ‘hiring a hitman’ as states pass laws restricting procedure

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Pope Francis has reiterated his stance against abortion, saying the procedure should not be carried out even when the fetus is deformed or gravely ill.

The Associated Press reported that Francis, the head of the Catholic church, was speaking Saturday at a Vatican-sponsored anti-abortion conference. He rhetorically asked his audience whether it was lawful to “hire a hitman to resolve a problem” or to “throw life away.”

Francis previously compared abortions to Nazi killings during the Holocaust. “Today we do the same thing but with white gloves,” he said last June.

While the Pope remains staunchly pro-life, he softened the Catholic church’s stance in 2016 by authorizing all priests to forgive the “sin of abortion.”

His latest anti-abortion remarks came amid a charged debate on reproductive rights in the US, as several states have recently passed laws to restrict abortions.

Read more: Abortion bans are popping up all around the country. Here are the states that have passed new laws to challenge Roe v. Wade in 2019

On Friday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a bill that bans abortions after eight weeks without exemptions for incest or rape. The law also stipulates that doctors who carry out the procedure face jail time in the state.

Governors in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio have signed anti-abortion laws during the last two months. Nonprofit organizations including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are challenging them in courts.

Some lawmakers who voted for the bills have said their eventual goal is to overturn the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision that protects women’s right to choose.

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