Pope Francis has said he will not permit “a person of faith to choose between his conscience and his health.”
Speaking to reporters in the Vatican, Francis also said he would continue his work to ensure the survival of women and children, even if that means the church loses some funding.
“The Church has to take into account what’s best for the health and the life of the person who has chosen to come to Christ,” Francis said.
“We can’t accept that the Church, which is responsible for protecting the life and health of the most vulnerable, can be in denial about this.”
Francis made the comments as he addressed a group of reporters in a room reserved for media.
The Vatican is under a tight security lockdown because of a major earthquake that struck the city in April, and Pope Francis is also meeting with bishops and religious to discuss the quake’s aftermath.
Pope Francis and members of the media were briefly evacuated from the building after a building fire broke out in May, forcing Pope Francis to leave the balcony to allow firefighters to fight the blaze.
The pope said that despite the fire, the church was on a “new trajectory” and he would visit a refugee camp in the area.
The fire broke the ground at the entrance to the complex, but Francis said the church had to leave it to avoid “an unnecessary risk.”
The Vatican has faced criticism over its response to the disaster.
In May, a Vatican-funded charity that helped the poor rebuild their lives was forced to withdraw its services after a man committed suicide, the Associated Press reported.
That same month, Francis met with the victims of the quake, and he praised the response by the church.
Francis also reiterated his opposition to abortion.
The pontiff has previously spoken out against abortion in general, saying that women who choose to have abortions are “foolish and dangerous” and should be punished with a penalty of death.
Francis, in his weekly address last week, said abortion should only be performed in cases of rape, incest or the “grave danger” of the pregnancy.
He said that it should only happen if the pregnancy has already taken place, or if the mother’s life is at risk.
Francis added that doctors who perform abortion should have the same “respect” for the woman as for her fetus, and that women seeking abortions should have access to counseling, medical care and the opportunity to terminate the pregnancy themselves.