(CNN)Pope Francis compared having an abortion to avoid birth defects to the Nazi era idea of trying to create a pure race.
Speaking to a delegation of Italy’s Family Association in Rome on Saturday, he also reiterated the Roman Catholic belief that a true human family is comprised of a man and woman.
The off-the-cuff comments were confirmed by the Vatican after the meeting.
“I have heard that it’s fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first months of pregnancy they do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first offer is: let’s send it away,” Pope Francis was reported as saying.
“I say this with pain. In the last century the whole world was scandalized about what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today we do the same, but now with white gloves.”