Speaking to a group of Catholic doctors, the Pope said that they should refuse to perform abortions because he says the first right of a person is to life.

"Dear friends, doctors, those of you who are called to deal with human life in its initial phase, remind everybody, with facts and words, that this is always, in all its phases and at every age, sacred and always quality life, and not for a reason of faith, but for a reason of science," he said.

The comments seem to contradict those he made in a landmark interview on Thursday, where he said the church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.