Pope Tells Germany to Keep Abortion Restrictions
VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Pope John Paul II, defending strong anti-abortion laws, on Thursday warned Germany against sacrificing ″Western″ values during the reconstruction of their nation.
Speaking at a ceremony to accept credentials of Germany’s new ambassador to the Holy See, the pope spoke of the challenge of emphasizing moral and social values following the unification of East and West Germany.
The status of abortion has emerged as a major issue in reunification. East Germany’s Communist regime allowed abortion virtually on demand, while West German legislation was more restrictive. It required that a woman prove the pregnancy would harm her health or cause financial hardship.
German politicians have decided to let their next parliament, which will be elected in December, decide the issue.
″The reconstruction in a part of Germany and in central and Eastern Europe currently requires the concurrence of many forces,″ the pope noted.
″Nonetheless, that doesn’t impede the continued vigilance of social structures and the resolute commitment to maintain fundamental values of society that belong to all the West. The safeguarding of life, both of the born and unborn, is a great good that must not be sacrificed.″
The comments marked the second time that the pope has expressed concern about abortion in a public speech aimed at Germans. In June, he told Rome’s German-speaking community that abortion debases humanity.
The new ambassador, 60-year-old Hans-Joachim Hallier, has been serving as ambassador to Japan.