Head of Pontifical Academy for Life Reconfirms Morning After Pill Cannot be Used Even in Cases of Ra

By John-Henry Westen

  VATICAN CITY, February 29, 2008 ( - Bishop Elio Sgreccia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, spoke with Tuesday on the subject of the use of the morning after pill in cases of rape.  Catholic hospitals in several dioceses in North America are currently administering the pill (Plan B) to patients who claim to be victims of rape. 

  According to Bishop Sgreccia, however, the morning after pill may not be administered by Catholic physicians.  The only Vatican opinion on the subject, absolutely prohibiting the use of the pill, was released by the Pontifical Academy for Life in 2000.  Since then, however, the Catholic Health Association, advisor to many bishops conferences, has suggested that there is no moral impediment to using the pill in cases of rape.  Several bishops conferences have followed the advice and permitted administration of the drugs in Catholic hospitals in cases where rape is asserted. spoke with Bishop Sgreccia about the issue at the conclusion of a two day conference of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which took place February 25-26 in Vatican City.  Speaking in English, Bishop Sgreccia affirmed that the position of the Church on the matter has not changed since the 2000 publication of the Pontifical Academy’s document. 

"But the position of the church is the same," he told  "The morning after pill is dangerous; is an abortifacient when there is a conception and so illicit to prescribe by doctors."

"Thus," added the Bishop, "there is the same position from the beginning of the presentation of this pill.  It is not medicine, not a composition for health, so physicians are not obliged to prescribe it. It is forbidden for Catholic doctors to prescribe it and also to be requested by Catholics." asked Bishop Sgreccia if there was an exception in cases of rape.  The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life replied, "No.  It is not able to prevent the rape. But it is able to eliminate the embryo.  It is thus the second negative intervention on the woman (the first being the rape itself)."

  Monsignor Andrew R. Baker, a professor at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome, told that the unchanged published opinion of the Pontifical Academy on the question is the "highest level" of advice given by the Holy See.

  Monsignor Baker explained that the possibility that the pill could abort a child made its administration absolutely prohibited.  Speaking of the abortifacient nature of the morning after pill, he said, "If it is in any way that possibility it cannot be used because it does attack life."

  While the manufacturers of the morning after pill and several studies have noted a possible abortifacient effect of the pill, a few studies have also suggested that the pill works to halt ovulation when ovulation has not already occurred, and is not therefore abortifacient.  The science is not conclusive on the point, with different studies having come out on either side of the debate. 

  And therefore, says the Professor at the Angelicum, "if we’re dealing with human life and there is some reasonable doubt placed in the equation we should not use (the pill).  "If there’s reasonable doubt whether or not there is a child then it should not be used."

  Baker, quoting a classic example of St. Thomas Aquinas on the matter, explained: "It’s the same as that classic case.  If you’re out hunting and you see something moving in the bush and you don’t know if it’s the deer or your fellow hunter, then you don’t shoot." 

  The ethical problems with Plan B, however, goes beyond the abortifiacient effects of the pill, especially if the drug is to be administered in Catholic hospitals. 

  The Catholic Church teaches that contraception in itself is an "intrinsic evil" and thus, argues renowned theologian Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, a Doctor of Theology who has taught at universities and seminaries for forty years, would prohibit Catholic hospitals from administering Plan B even if it acted as a contraceptive rather than causing abortions. 

"Prevention of procreation is intrinsically evil prior to and independently of any good end which might be achieved thereby, such as avoiding further violence at the hands of a rapist", explains Fr. Fehlner.  "The woman may certainly resist and should resist to the limit permitted by divine law any sexual assault. But she may not do this by using a means which is intrinsically evil, in this case considering the conception of a child an act of violence justifying the use of contraception." (see coverage: )

  Moreover, Plan B has many negative side effects which will be inflicted on the victim of rape should it be administered.  According to the manufacturer Plan B’s side effects include “nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, menstrual changes, dizziness, breast tenderness, vomiting, and diarrhea.”

  See the Pontifical Academy for Life Document on the Morning After Pill here:

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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