Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pope urges pharmacists not to supply 'abortion pill'

Pope Benedict has urged pharmacists to refuse to supply drugs that cause abortion or euthanasia.

Speaking to a convention of Catholic pharmacists, the Pope told the health professionals they must be "conscientious objectors" against such practices and that part of their job was to protect human life from conception to death.

"Church teaching that rules out any deliberate termination of pregnancy or euthanasia," Pope Benedict said.

"It is not possible to anaesthetise the conscience, for example, when it comes to molecules whose aim is to stop an embryo implanting or to cut short someone's life,"he said.

While the abortion pill has been available in many European Union countries and has had regulatory approval in the United States since 2000, it has not been authorised in Italy.

The Vatican has criticised moves by some Italian politicians who favour the pill, which blocks the action of the hormone progesterone that is needed to sustain a pregnancy.

The Pope told the international gathering that individual pharmacists could always choose not to prescribe such a drug.

"I invite your federation to consider conscientious objection which is a right that must be recognised for your profession so you can avoid collaborating, directly or indirectly, in the supply of products which have clearly immoral aims, for example abortion or euthanasia." he said.

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