VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis compared abortion to a Mafia-style killing Wednesday, saying it’s the equivalent of hiring a hit man to ‘‘take out a human life to solve a problem.’’

Francis made the comments, among his strongest yet against abortion, during his weekly Wednesday audience dedicated to the commandment exhorting the faithful not to kill.

Francis said some justify abortion as respecting others’ rights. But, he said, ‘‘How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenseless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil, or simply human?’’

He asked if it was fair ‘‘to take out a human life’’ to solve a problem: ‘‘Is it fair to hire a hit man to solve a problem? It is not fair. We cannot take out a human being, even if it is small.’’


It was the second time within recent months that Francis expressed the church’s opposition to abortion in violent, stark terms.

associated press