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Pope Francis celebrates families in speech after Supreme Court abortion ruling

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Abortion and women rights supporters demonstrate with signs in front of U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 decision, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion, some 50 years after the landmark precedent-setting 1973 decision. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/9cf0fbabcbf04829132541901b0f6ab9/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Abortion and women rights supporters demonstrate with signs in front of U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 decision, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion, some 50 years after the landmark precedent-setting 1973 decision. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

June 25 (UPI) -- Pope Francis on Saturday celebrated families in a speech that came after the U.S. Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion established by Roe vs. Wade.

The speech, made to a crowd at St. Peter's Square, did not specifically refer to abortion or the court's ruling but reiterated themes he has used to condemn the medical practice throughout his tenure as the head of the Catholic Church.

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His speech took place during the homily of a mass during the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome, which ends on Sunday. The church has long opposed abortion on the grounds that life begins at conception, a belief that Francis has reaffirmed through his papacy.

"All of you spouses, in forming your family, with the grace of Christ have made this courageous choice: not to use freedom for yourselves, but to love the people God has placed beside you," Francis said.

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Francis said that Catholics must "defend" the family and "affirm the beauty of the family" in his veiled comments Saturday.

"Let us not allow the family to be polluted by the poisons of selfishness, individualism, the culture of indifference and the throwaway culture, and thus lose its 'DNA' which is hospitality and the spirit of service," Francis said.

The pope said that parents are fearful about bringing children into a world "where everything seems chaotic" and that such anxiety "even ends up blocking the desire to bring new lives into the world."

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Catholics for Choice, a group that supports the right of women to seek an abortion, condemned the Supreme Court's decision in a statement on Friday.

"While we knew this day was coming, that knowledge does nothing to diminish the gut-wrenching horror that Catholics for Choice feels today," Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson said.

"The unconscionable Supreme Court decision to end the constitutional right to abortion is the culmination of a decades-long religious crusade - spearheaded by the U.S. Catholic bishops - to take away a woman's most fundamental freedoms, namely her ability to control her own fertility."

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Manson said that the ruling gives right-wing leaders "unfettered license to codify fringe religious beliefs into civil law."

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"It is a full-frontal assault on, and is utterly incompatible with, the bedrock American principles of religious freedom and the separation of church and state," Manson said.

"The fall of Roe v. Wade will have devastating effects for millions of women and pregnant people across the country. As Catholics, we are taught a theology of social justice. But abortion bans are the opposite of justice."

The National Catholic Reporter, an independent Catholic news outlet, published an editorial Friday indicating that the Supreme Court's decision comes with a "very high cost" to the church.

"As we at NCR have long argued, making abortion illegal is not the only -- or even necessarily the most effective -- way to bring about a reduction in the number of abortions in this country," the editorial reads.

"The anger and fear expressed since last month's leak of a draft of the Supreme Court's majority opinion will likely mushroom, leading to even more rancor in an already hyperpolarized culture."

The editorial added that young people exiting the church think that opposition to legal abortion is the church's core teaching and "not the death and resurrection of Jesus."

"There is no doubt: Women will die without Roe's protection," the editorial reads.

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"So now is the time for Catholics who see themselves as pro-life to speak out now against any extreme and draconian anti-abortion measures at the state level, especially those that seek to punish women for having abortions."

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