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White House Spokesman Unaware That Pope Also Condemned Abortion in Much-Praised Climate Encyclical

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Pope Francis listens to a speech during a special audience he held for members of the FOCSIV Italian Catholic volunteers, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he was not aware that Pope Francis said in his climate change encyclical that it's "incompatible" to be concerned about protecting the environment while also being pro-abortion.

Asked Monday whether it was safe to assume that the White House strongly disagrees with that portion of the encyclical, Earnest told TheBlaze, “I didn’t actually see that portion of it, so why don’t we take a look and I’ll get you a reaction."

Pope Francis listens to a speech during a special audience he held for members of the FOCSIV Italian Catholic volunteers, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

Francis’ reference to abortion was part of a much broader document calling for action to stop climate change.

“Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion,” Francis said. “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away.”

Last week, President Barack Obama – a strong advocate for abortion rights – asserted his support for the encyclical as a whole.

“I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis's encyclical, and deeply admire the Pope's decision to make the case - clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position - for action on global climate change,” Obama said. “As Pope Francis so eloquently stated this morning, we have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children's children, from the damaging impacts of climate change.

“I believe the United States must be a leader in this effort, which is why I am committed to taking bold actions at home and abroad to cut carbon pollution, to increase clean energy and energy efficiency, to build resilience in vulnerable communities, and to encourage responsible stewardship of our natural resources,” he said. “We must also protect the world's poor, who have done the least to contribute to this looming crisis and stand to lose the most if we fail to avert it."

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