In the 1994 book-length interview of Pope John Paul II undertaken by writer Vittorio Messori, the soon-to-be canonized Pope John Paul responded to the charge of being ‘obsessed’ about abortion.
In the chapter called The Defense of Every Life, Messori asked: “Your repeated condemnation of any legalization of abortion has even been defined as ‘obsessive’ by certain cultural and political factions which hold that ‘humanitarian reasons’ are on their side – the side that has led governments to permit abortion.”
Pope John Paul II responded:
For man, the right to life is the fundamental right. And yet, a part of contemporary culture has wanted to deny that right, turning it into an “uncomfortable” right, one that has to be defended. But there is no other right that so closely affects the very existence of the person!
The right to life means the right to be born and then continue to live until one's natural end: “As long as I live, I have the right to live.” The question of conceived and unborn children is a particularly delicate yet clear problem. The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves.
It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience – the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.
Therefore, I must repeat that I categorically reject every accusation or suspicion concerning the Pope's alleged “obsession” with this issue. We are dealing with a problem of tremendous importance, in which all of us must show the utmost responsibility and vigilance. We cannot afford forms of permissiveness that would lead directly to the trampling of human rights, and also to the complete destruction of values which are fundamental not only for the lives of individuals and families but for society itself.