Pope urges doctors to protect women from abortion

Pope Benedict XVI has urged doctors to protect women from the deceptive thought that an abortion might be a solution to social or economic difficulties or health problems.

Benedict reaffirmed the Catholic Church's firm opposition to abortion in a speech Saturday to members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Vatican's bioethics advisory board.

The pontiff argued that women are often convinced, sometimes by their own doctors, that abortion is a legitimate choice and in some cases even a therapeutic act to prevent their babies from suffering.

Saying "abortion solves nothing," he called on doctors not to give up their duty to defend the consciences of women from such "deception."

Church teaching holds that human life begins at conception.