By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MONACO, April 8, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic nation of Monaco, one of the last holdouts against the tide of abortion legalization in the European continent, has approved a new law permitting abortion for "hard cases," including rape, fetal deformity, fetal illness, or danger to the life of the mother.

The law was passed unanimously by Monaco’s National Council, its parliament, in a 26-0 vote, despite the fact that 90% of its population is formally Catholic.  The legislation had been in process for five years.

Archbishop Pernard Barsi of Monaco reportedly blasted the measure as being "incompatible" with the constitution of Monaco, which recognizes the Catholic faith as the state religion.

"When they say that the text [of the law] only concerns extreme cases, they are not saying the truth," said Barsi. "There is a risk that all of the rest will follow and the worst is to be feared because they will not stop trying to conform Monaco to the lowest ethical standards."

Members of the council denounced Barsi for his criticisms, claiming they were made at the last minute.  However, as LifeSiteNews has reported, Barsi has been denouncing the measure since at least 2006.

Monaco was one of the last three nations in Europe where abortion is illegal.  The other two countries are Ireland and Malta.


Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Monaco Considers Proposal to Legalize Abortion
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/nov/06112003.html