anti-abortion protest
The Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania holds a 'Mercy Witness For Life' rally on July 23, 2016 outside of the former site of Dr. Kermit Gosnell's closed abortion clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

An Australian archbishop has apologized after comparing abortion to the eugenics program carried out by Nazi Germany. Mark Coleridge, archbishop of Brisbane, was discussing his opposition to legislation that is currently being considered to decriminalize abortion in Queensland.

The state, of which Brisbane is the capital, is one of the territories in which abortion is currently illegal except in cases where the mother’s health is endangered. Speaking at an anti-abortion rally in Brisbane Saturday, Coleridge cited China as a cause for fears that the new legislation would lead to abortions being undertaken for gender selection purposes. As well as suggesting that pregnancies could be terminated by women “worried about their figure,” he also claimed that late-term abortions would be carried out on fetuses with a disability.

“The classic term for it is ­eugenics,” he told the Courier Mail, referencing the Nazi policy that sought to advance the Aryan race. “It is the kind of thing that went on in Nazi Germany.”

Coleridge went on to attack what he claimed was hypocrisy on the part of Queensland lawmakers for considering decriminalizing abortion at the same time as a bill has been introduced taking a tougher stance on domestic violence.

"I think a government that is very strongly opposed to domestic violence but strongly in favor of greater access to abortion has a kind of a contradiction at its heart,” he said.

The comments prompted an almost immediate response from Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

“With all due respect to Archbishop Coleridge, I don’t need counselling about my position on abortion,” she wrote on her Facebook page. "I have been pro-choice all my adult life. I am a Catholic but I’m also a woman and I simply disagree with the Church’s views on a woman’s right to choose. It’s also sad that we have reached a new low in this debate when women who have abortions are compared to Nazis.”

The government later confirmed that Coleridge had reached out to issue an apology.

“The Archbishop made contact with the Premier — he spoke, she listened," a government spokesman said. "The Archbishop apologized and said some of his comments were taken out of context."