Use of the ``morning after'' pill by rape victims is tantamount to abortion, a senior Vatican official said Tuesday, expressing church opposition to their distribution to Kosovo refugees by U.N. aid workers.
    Associated Press reports that he called the pill an ``abortion technique'' that should not be confused with contraceptives.
    The position stated by Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, reflected the Vatican's firm opposition to abortion and its concern that rape victims would end their pregnancies.
    Sgreccia, writing in the Italian Roman Catholic daily newspaper Avvenire, was reacting to last week's announcement by the U.N. Population Fund that it was providing emergency reproductive health kits for about 350,000 people.
    The U.N. fund said in New York that the kits include equipment to deliver babies without medical facilities, pictorial instructions, morning after pills for rape victims and a variety of contraceptives.
    Mgr. Sgreccia said it was important to distinguish between ``the act of violence suffered and the reality of new human beings who have begun their life.''
    He rejected any comparison with the distribution of contraceptive pills to nuns in the Congo in the 1960s, which he called ``a legitimate defense'' against the possibility of rape.

12:11pm 14/4/99 / AP


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