The Pontifical Academy for Life is preparing a document on the effects of abortion on women's mental and emotional health. The document is expected to be published next year, said Archbishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, in an interview with L'Osservatore Romano.
Archbishop Carrasco said: "The existence of post-abortion syndrome is a well known fact that has already been developed in much literature." He added: "I am referring to the state of depression that isolates many women who have undergone an abortion. It often manifests itself through anxiety or other more serious conditions."
"It is true that abortion, in addition to killing an innocent person, profoundly affects the conscience of the woman who undergoes it. It is a question, then, that cannot be ignored, especially from a pastoral point of view," he added.
Another aspect under consideration, the Cardinal said, was "the grave phenomenon of the habit of abortion", in which abortions are so common, the "moral sensitivity" to it has been erased.
Archbishop Carrasco expressed fears that the increased use of the RU 486 pill in Europe would lead lead to an increased "habit of abortion."
Mgr Carrasco de Paula is a medical doctor and philosopher. Born in Barcelona, Spain on October 25, 1937, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1962 and another in medicine and surgery in 1962. He has held a variety of positions in Rome since his ordination to the priesthood in 1966.
Besides serving as chancellor of the Academy for Life, he is a consultor to both the Pontifical Councils for the Family and for Health Pastoral Care, and is the vice-assistant of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors.
He is also a member of the ethics committee for the experimentation clinic at Rome's Bambino Gesu Hospital.
Among other positions he has held in his medical career are being the ordinary of bioethics in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery "A. Gemelli" at Sacred Heart University in Rome and a seven-year stint as the Bioethics Institute's director from 2002 - 2009.
Mgr Carrasco de Paula has also served as the rector of Opus Dei's Holy Cross University from 1984-1994 and the director of its Moral Theology Department from 1994-2002.Source: VIS/VaticanRadio