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Pope: With science, let’s “listen” to the embryo’s voice

embryo fetus light uterus dark

© Joo Lee / Getty

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/23/23

The unborn life is the holder of the highest right that belongs to everyone, says Pope Francis in preface to book on science of life.

Pope Francis has made countless appeals for the end of abortion, and is now making another, reiterating his call to allow science to guide the decisions on this issue.

In the preface to a book called Il Miracolo Della Vita (The Miracle of Life,) the Pope proposed what he calls a “firm but calm appeal” and suggests that the reality of abortion should be reflected on with the “qualified contribution of science.”

The Italian-language book from Piemme publisher is by Arnoldo Mosca Mondadori together with scientist Gabriele Semprebon and author Luca Crippa. The book aims to deepen discussion on the subject without ideological barriers.

Here is a Vatican News working translation of the Pope’s preface:


This book aims to remind the reader of the wonder and joy of each one’s coming into the world. It shows the beauty of looking at unborn life as the holder of the highest right that belongs to everyone: that of existing. Beauty, yes, because the spectacle of nature taking its course instills wonder and calls for care, protection, and welcome.

In addressing the subject of this book, above all, I invite everyone around the world to reflect on the reality of abortion not only from the basis of one or another faith or thought tradition, but also with the qualified contribution of science.

It is a firm but calm appeal to bring about discussion with my brothers and sisters, with whom I share our vast and magnificent multifaceted humanity.

Central to this book is the input from a scientist, an expert in embryology and one actively involved in mixed bioethics committees (i.e. in dialogue with doctors and lay scientists).

Together with the other authors, he has taken up my invitation to return to the theme of abortion by “listening” to the voice of the embryo, questioning us about his or her nature, his or her singularity, on how he or she faces every threat that stands between him or herself and their own existence, guided by processes that nature has fine-tuned over the millennia of evolution.

“Let us return to the wonder of being born” the authors suggest. In this regard, I renew my appeal to all those who, faced with unborn life, do not stop and do not give in to a tragic and definitive solution, such as abortion, but feel they can offer the unborn child and the mother the help of a society that is finally dedicated to defending the dignity of all, starting with the most vulnerable. It is a society that, in short, rejects the “throwaway culture” in every area and at every stage of existence: in the fragility of the unborn child, in the loneliness of the elderly, in the shameful poverty of so many who are deprived of the essential basics and lack prospects for development, in the suffering of those who are victims of wars, in the reality of emigration caused by desperation and persecution found in every part of the world. On behalf of so many innocent victims, may God bless all those who are willing to discuss and reflect together on this “miracle” that is life.

Working translation from the original text in Italian by Vatican News.

AbortionPope Francis
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