August 2007


I MENTIONED the other day that there were two pieces in this week’s Tablet magazine about Amnesty International’s decision to adopt a pro-abortion policy. The other article is predominantly about the decision of the English Bishop of East Anglia Michael Evans to resign after 30-odd years with the organisation, but it also touches on a couple of other issues; one of which is a brief comment attributed to Amnesty International member and veteran campaigner Bruce Kent (pictured below), which, if correct, I find a little odd coming from a campaigner of his pedigree.

According to the Tablet, Mr Kent is optimistic that a way forward can be found to allow Amnesty International members opposed to abortion to remain members if their contributions and efforts were not used to support the pro abortion policy (I do not believe this to be in any way feasible, but the logistics of that is not my concern here).

Bruce Kent is a man of peace and I am sure that his suggestion – if it is his – comes from his innate conciliatory desire. But the suggestion necessitates Amnesty International becoming a very broad church to accommodate the vastly different views of human rights, and it makes the argument from a relativist viewpoint: where everyone’s view is right and truth is only a matter of perspective. (more…)

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A FEW MORE comments about Amnesty International’s decision to adopt a pro-abortion stance. More to come…

“People who support so-called ‘abortion rights’ are probably very pleased and feel they’ve scored another ‘coup’. But I think it is going to leave Amnesty International with a very questionable reputation from now on.” Rev Thomas King, SJ, Professor of Theology, Georgetown University, United States

“AS ABORTION brings about the death of a child before birth, it clearly violates the right of a child to life. What then of the mother and any rights she might claim? The position in relation to children’s rights versus adult rights should be clear and is arguably covered by the paramountcy principle which states that: “the welfare of the child is paramount” and this is enshrined in International, European and UK legislative frameworks, hence the Children Act 1989″Dr Rosemary Keenan, National Board of Catholic Women, England & Wales

“I DO not see how anyone who is committed to equal respect for all human life, whether on religious or philosophical grounds, can remain a member of Amnesty International.” Ray Campbell, director of the Queensland Bioethics Centre, Australia (more…)

SCOTLAND’S most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Edinburgh says he will leave Amnesty International following the organisation’s decision to adopt a pro abortion policy.

The cardinal, who has been a member of AI for 40 years, said he was leaving the organisation as a “matter of conscience”. He commented: “That basic and most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life is recognised by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the document upon which Amnesty International was founded. Sadly now Amnesty International seems to be placing itself at the forefront of a campaign for a universal ‘right’ to abortion in contravention to that basic right to human life.”
In contrast to many other countries, the Scottish Catholic hierarchy has been quiet on the issue until now and this is a welcome, though belated, message from the Scottish Catholic church. The full text of Cardinal O’Brien’s comments are given below.

(more…)

THE ISSUE as covered by the UK’s Tablet magazine. The Tablet is a Catholic magazine read widely around the English speaking world and unfortunately its coverage of the issue to date has been disappointing. Nevertheless, two pieces appear in this week’s edition, as well as a leader criticising Amnesty’s decision.

Amnesty loses friends over abortion policy

THE VATICAN this week intensified its call to Catholics to stop supporting Amnesty International following the pressure group’s decision to back the legalisation of abortion.

AI affirmed a revised abortion policy at the conclusion of its leadership council meeting in Mexico last week, making official a departure from its longtime neutrality on the issue despite protests from many Catholic leaders.

“With the prevention of violence against women as its major campaigning focus AI’s leaders committed themselves anew to work for universal respect for sexual and reproductive rights,” the organisation said in a statement released after the meeting.

Under the new policy, the group said, AI would support the decriminalisation of abortion, push for access to health care for women suffering from complications of abortion procedures, and “defend women’s access to abortio, within reasonable gestational limits, when their health or human rights are in danger”.

(more…)

 

THE UK’s SUNDAY Times today reports that Amnesty International has been accused of duping pro life pop stars – including Christina Aguilera (pictured) and Avril Lavigne – by persuading them to record tracks for a CD to raise funds. The article quotes representative from the Rock for Life organisation. The full article appears below. (Note: the headline as it appeared in print is given below, the internet version of the story was headlined “Pro-life rockers clash with Amnesty” on the Times’ website.)

 

Amnesty “duped” pro-life pop stars

By Maurice Chittenden and Dipesh Gadher

Amnesty International risks alienating some of its high-profile rock star backers in the row over its decision to support women’s access to abortion.

The group has been accused of “duping” the singers Christina Aguilera and Avril Lavigne, who have both made statements against abortion and are among

(more…)

THE US CONFERENCE of Catholic Bishops has responded to Amnesty International’s recently-adopted abortion policy by warning AI that the Bishops would be looking to work with other human rights groups. The Conference also calls for AI to reverse the policy.

The President of the Conference, Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane said in a statement:

“This basic policy change undermines Amnesty’s longstanding moral credibility and unnecessarily diverts its mission. In promoting abortion, Amnesty divides its own members (many of whom are Catholics and others who defend the rights of unborn children) and jeopardizes its support by people in many nations, cultures and religions..”

He continues: To some, the action of Amnesty International may appear to be a compassionate response to women in difficult situations of pregnancy, but this is a false compassion. True commitment to women’s rights puts us in solidarity with women and their unborn children. It does not pit one gainst the other but calls us to advocate on behalf of both.”

The full text of the Bishops’ Statement follows below. (more…)

BELOW ARE some of the views being posted around the web on Amnesty International’s decision on abortion. More will follow. Also see Consistent Life’s page for more links. It might be worth pointing out that the quotes here come from a variety of sources: Pro-Life sources, Christian sources, Muslim blogs, and blogs with no links to any religious or pro-life group. Amnesty International’s position is made clear in the documents it tried to cover up in April.

“Violence cannot be answered with further violence; murder with murder; for even if the child is unborn, it is still a human person. It has a right to dignity as a human being.” Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as reported by Spero News

“If Amnesty International becomes an organisation which affirms the right to abortion, even under certain circumstances, it is free democratically to do so. But it cannot expect those of us who are just as passionate about the human rights of the unborn child to feel at ease being part of such an organisation.” – Rt Rev Michael Evans as reported in the Times of London

“By its actions Amnesty International has shown that in today’s world what determines a “human right” is based on ideology rather than human dignity.” – John Mallon, Human Life International

“It is a tragedy that AI has adopted abortion as a human right. It has now placed in jeopardy the wonderful work that it has performed.” Right to Life, New Zealand

“I think it sad that Amnesty should get involved with something that simply isn’t in its remit; it will inevitably compromise the good work it does.” Nova et Vetera blog

(more…)

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