As the Zika virus continues to wreak havoc throughout Latin America, Pope Francis suggested Thursday that contraceptives could be used by women concerned about having children born with microcephaly referring to it as "the lesser of two evils" when compared with abortion.
When asked about whether the Catholic Church should allow contraceptives in the cases of mothers who might be trying to avoid pregnancy due to the virus, the pope answered by comparing the situation to a decree issued by Pope Paul VI, concerning nuns and rape in Africa, according to Fox's Denver affiliate KDVR-TV.
"The great (Pope) Paul VI, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape," he said. He went on to say that avoiding pregnancy isn't an absolute evil while calling on doctors to find a vaccine for the mosquito-borne illness, according to ABC News.
"Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil," Francis said. "In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also ask doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on."
Contraception was where Pope Francis drew the line, however, with him referring to abortion as an "absolute evil" as well as "crime," which shouldn't be considered even if there is a risk that a child will be infected with Zik V, according to CNN.
"It is to kill someone in order to save another. This is what the Mafia does," Francis said.
Women in the overwhelmingly Catholic Latin America have been left in an tough spot due to the explosion of the Zika outbreak. Local officials, as well as the World Health Organization, have called for women to either practice abstinence or use contraceptives, however the Catholic catechism states that anything that works to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil.