This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Pope Extends Forgiveness for Abortions

Pope Francis today extended indefinitely his instruction to parish priests that they can forgive a woman who confesses to having had an abortion. As CNN notes, this is not meant by the Catholic Church to be a change in their view about abortion, but it does show a continued softening (even if still somewhat confused, as I have noted in the past) of attitudes towards women's reproductive rights that has been taking place under the current Pope.
While the practical effect of Francis' announcement remains unclear, it draws attention to the prevailing theme of his papacy: That the doors of the Church must remain open, just as God's forgiveness and mercy extend to all those who repent from sin. 
That said, the Catholic Church's stance on abortion has not changed -- it is still viewed as a "grave sin." But it makes it easier for women who have had abortions to be absolved for their actions, and rejoin the church.
The CNN article has a nice map showing the availability of legal abortion throughout the world (note that the original is interactive, allowing you to to click on countries to find their specific laws regarding abortion):

The map shows a significant "north-south" divide with respect to abortion. Interestingly enough, the lines are drawn more with respect to levels of economic development (more developed equals greater availability of abortion) than along religious lines (some predominantly Catholic countries allow it, some don't; some predominantly Muslim countries allow, some don't). 

My guess is that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be available everywhere in the world...

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