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Rome Reports

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Pope criticizes “hidden” forms of euthanasia, like withholding medication to reduce costs

During his meeting with participants of the Pontifical Academy for Life's plenary assembly, Pope Francis harshly criticized abortion and euthanasia.

Yes, in many places there is a “hidden” law of euthanasia, as I call it. It's the one that says, “Medicine is expensive, so we can only give half doses.” And this means cutting short the life of elderly people.

Participants of the plenary assembly were in Rome discussing ways to improve public health globally, especially in response to the need for equitable health care revealed by the pandemic.

The Pope repeated what he said when he left the Gemelli hospital after undergoing intestinal surgery, emphasizing the importance of free health care.

Do not lose it; otherwise, we'll reach the point where the only people who have a right to health care are those who can pay for it. Others will not.

The pandemic revealed the weaknesses of public health systems and the challenge of providing a coordinated global response.

The Pope said that when it comes to making public health policy, it is important to understand the context in which that policy will be applied.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Sometimes cry, when we hear government or community leaders advise inhabitants of shantytowns to wash their hands several times a day with water and soap. But dear friend, you have never been in a shantytown. There is no water there, the people don't have soap. “Don't leave the house.” But there the house is the neighborhood because they live... Please, let us take these realities into account.

Pope Francis said that the pandemic crisis is an opportunity to learn and improve the future. He said the worst outcome would be to not take advantage of this opportunity.