Speaking at a Vatican-sponsored anti-abortion conference, he urged doctors and priests to support families to carry all pregnancies to full term.
“Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem?” he asked his audience. “Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?”
The pontiff said that the matter was not a religious issue but a human one.
And he denounced decisions to abort pregnancies based on prenatal testing, saying a human being is “never incompatible with life”.
It is not the first time the Pope has spoken out strongly against abortion but his new comments come little more than a week after the issue was pushed into the global spotlight when the US state of Alabama passed highly restrictive laws banning abortion in almost all cases, including where pregnancies have been caused by rape.
The bill’s architects expect that it will be defeated in the lower courts, but hope that it will therefore come before the country’s newly conservative Supreme Court.
If judges there uphold the bill, it will give the green light for other states across the US to impose similarly draconian measures.
Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio are among others which have also passed new abortion restrictions in recent months with the same goal in mind.