Pope Francis on Wednesday likened abortion to hiring a hitman to solve the problem.
"Interrupting a pregnancy is like eliminating someone," the pontiff said during his weekly St. Peter's Square audience in Vatican City.
The Pope was reflecting on the Fifth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill", and condemned the taking of a life for the sake of protecting other rights.
"... how can an act be therapeutic, civil or simply humane if it suppresses innocent and defenceless life at its beginning?" he asked.
(With inputs from agencies.)