THE CATHOLIC Church in Australia has become the latest group to call for Amnesty International to reverse its policy on abortion.

In a statement one of Australia’s most senior Catholic clerics Archbishop Philip Wilson said that AI’s pro-abortion stance was “deeply regrettable” and said that AI had “moved to a concept of human rights founded not upon the good of the human person, but simply upon the autonomy of the individual.”

“Catholic people have had a long association with Amnesty International, going right back to its inception and the two bodies have been closely aligned in their commitment to social justice,” he said.

“However, Amnesty International has now adopted a position, under the misleading term of ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ which is at odds with the Catholic understanding of the dignity of the human person and sexuality.

“This decision has led some people, including some Catholic school groups, to withdraw from membership of Amnesty International and to seek other ways in which to pursue the same aims of fighting injustice, ending human rights abuses and standing in solidarity with the imprisoned and the oppressed.”

Archbishop Wilson said that he had written two letters on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference during the past year, urging Amnesty International to abandon the policy change.

“Unfortunately, despite similar entreaties from people the world over, Amnesty International decided to proceed with the new policy,” he said.

“We will now consider the situation carefully, in consultation with the Catholic education sector and the many other arms of the Catholic Church in Australia which have had association with Amnesty International.

“It is not too late for Amnesty International to take stock of the damage being caused by this change of policy and to return to its former neutral stance on abortion. I would urge them to do so.”

Photograph: Archbishop Philip Wilson, from http://www.acbc.catholic.org.au

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