Vatican: Pope Benedict XVI urges respect for human life, from conception to its "natural end"

Pope Benedict XVI again urged respect for life in remarks Sunday, one day after he kept up the Vatican's anti-abortion campaign by referring to the "intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion."

The pope made the remarks at the end of his traditional Sunday blessing, and noted that "all human life is deserving of respect and must be protected from its conception all the way to its natural end."

Benedict was pressing for the inclusion of the disabled "in society, in the work force but also in the Christian community." The pontiff spoke out against abortion Saturday in a speech to Latin American prelates concerned with families. He also appeared to be referring to the RU-486 abortion pill when he denounced "facilitating the elimination of the embryo."

The Vatican and the Italian Catholic church have aggressively been denouncing abortion before next year's parliamentary election, turning it into an election issue again in Italy for the first time in more than 20 years.

While no mainstream parties advocate making abortion illegal again, both left- and right-wing parties have recently supported giving cash benefits to women during pregnancy or after birth widely seen as a way of encouraging women not to have abortions, reported AP. P.T.

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