“It is fashionable, or at least usual, that when in the first few months of a pregnancy doctors do studies to see if the child is healthy or has something, the first idea is: ‘Let’s send it away,’” the pope said. “We do the same as the Nazis to maintain the purity of the race, but with white gloves on.”

A Vatican official confirmed the statements, which, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, were made when Francis departed from his prepared remarks in an address to the Forum of Family Associations on the 25-year anniversary of its founding.