EVEN AL JAZEERA has covered Amnesty International’s new decision to support abortion. The clip here shows an interview between AI’s Widney Brown and Helen Alvare of the Catholic University of America.

Widney Brown has been one of the people zealously pushing the policy onto the organisation with a dogmatic belief that abortion is a human right. In fact in her fervour, Ms Brown apparently has not bothered to find out about what Catholic teaching is in relation to the matter, preferring instead to use crude (and completely erroneous) stereotypes of what she believes to be Catholic teaching. This is another demonstration that the organisation has been forced into this by a leadership not fully comprehending what it was doing but just clinging on to the belief that it was right. To be fair, in the middle of the interview poor Ms Brown lets it slip that it wasn’t just Catholic beliefs she didn’t fully grasp, apparently she didn’t quite realise what Amnesty US has done in relation to its interpretation of women’s health and its stance on supporting the availability of partial birth abortions.

Now other AI spokespeople have been a little circumspect about the numbers leaving AI – see, for example, Phillippe Hensmans’s view who almost complained it wasn’t fair that the Catholic Church was asking its members to think twice before supporting AI. Not so Ms Brown, who says that there has not been an exodus of people leaving the organisation as was predicted when the policy was announced in April (actually other reports contradict her, and she hasn’t produced her statistics)….but, hold your horses Widney: surely, the policy wasn’t announced in April – well, at least that’s what Amnesty International would have us believe. In fact Amnesty went out of its way to try to cover up the policy with confidential internal documents and attempts to mislead members into thinking that the consultation it claims was so democratic was continuing right up until August.

What happened was when the top secret documents got into the public domain thanks to Consistent Life, the hapless Widney gave an interview to Reuters about the policy….red faces all round as Amnesty’s leadership realised it had been well and truly caught out.

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IN AN ATTEMPT to justify its new policy on abortion, Amnesty International issued a press statement this week in which, with brazen sophistry, it equated abortions with medical treatments such as drug overdose cases.

The shocking analogy proves the lie to Amnesty International’s claim that it maintains it does not have a view on the rights and wrongs of abortion or at what point life begins – if AI was indeed neutral about the point at which life begins would it honestly adopt any policy that could potentially harm a life?

What part of the treatments for drug overdoses, injuries caused by gunshot wounds, or wounded combatants jeopardize the life of an innocent third party?

Although it has lost much of its credibility, Amnesty International must surely grasp on to a thread of dignity and at least have the courage of its convictions and admit that, contrary to what it is saying in public, the leadership has made a decision on where life begins and is now pro-abortion. The very least that AI members can expect is that AI starts being honest.

The full text of Amnesty International’s statement follows below ( red highlight added) (more…)

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL has confirmed that it has dropped its neutrality on abortion. Despite members objections to the new policy and in full knowledge that the policy has split its membership, leaders of the organisation pressed ahead with the decision at their conference in Mexico. The organisation had been trying to hush up the decision until the announcement this week, but Consistent Life uncovered the decision in April.

Following the announcement the Rt Rev Michael Evans, Roman Catholic Bishop of the English diocese of East Anglia resigned from Amnesty International. Bishop Evans had been a member of the organisation for more than 30 years and had been a leading light of the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales in the attempts to stop Amnesty International backing abortions.

The move has outraged many people and the Vatican has condemned Amnesty for “betraying its mission”.

BBC News covers the topic here:

SIXTY-FIVE YEARS ago a conference of officials from a well-known organization met in the suburb of a great city to discuss a problem.

The result of that conference shocked and sickened the world; it stripped millions of human beings of their fundamental rights and dignities – including their right to life – and it demonstrated the depths of inhumanity.

Today we vilify those Nazi officials who met at Berlin’s Wannsee conference in1942 as monsters. Of course, their actions may indeed have been monstrous, but they were human, just like the rest of us. And perhaps it was that spark of humanity left in some of them that made them realize what they were debating was, if not unpalatable to them, would be deplorable to the outside world. So, with breathtaking spin, they coined a phrase to soften what was really going on; an apparently innocuous, safe, and acceptable phrase to refer to their plans. We now know that that phrase was a euphemism for state-sanctioned murder, butchery and barbarism; and it is a phrase that still has the power to send shivers up the spine when contemplating the underlying reality: The Final Solution.

Today officials from an entirely different, well-known organization are meeting in one of the world’s great cities: their decision will effect millions of individuals and they will use a euphemism to cover up the unpalatable reality of the effect of their policy. (more…)

The Catholic Church in Australia, a strong supporter of Amnesty International in the past, could be about to cut ties with the organization altogether following AI’s adoption of a new policy to advocate abortion.

Many Christians, especially Catholics, are expected to resign from the human rights organization and perhaps establish an alternative human rights organization because of the new policy. Some expect the Church in Australia to cut its ties with Amnesty altogether and the country’s church leaders have met to discuss the issue.

Many of AI’s 2.2 million members and supporters are church-based, including about 72,000 in Australia. Amnesty estimates that 500 Catholic schools in Australia have member groups, as do other Christian schools.

Amnesty’s international executive board adopted the policy last month as part of its campaign to curb violence against women. Previously Amnesty was neutral on abortion.

Fr. Chris Middleton, head of St Aloysius’ College in Sydney, told The Age newspaper that Amnesty’s Australian membership would be deeply hit by this policy decision.

He predicted that Amnesty’s Third World membership would be reduced to a partisan and ideologically exclusive group.

This new policy would also weaken the campaign against capital punishment in the United States by driving a wedge between its two most vocal critics, Amnesty and the Catholic Church, he said.

Amnesty has been criticized for its secrecy regarding this policy change. It had initially announced that it would have an international debate on this policy in Mexico City later this year, but its leadership council went ahead with the policy decision instead and many members of its own staff were left stunned when they heard the news from outside parties.

If you were an interested Amnesty International UK members looking for some information or comment over the recent decision to advocate abortion as a human right, one of the first places you might turn would be the organization’s members’ magazine, Amnesty Magazine, particularly as the organization’s own staff are unable or unwilling to give correct information.

AIUK members receiving their copy of the May/June issue this week would have to flick over quite a few pages – to page 37 of the 40 page issue- before hitting upon a small, pink box which mentioned the issue (it’s been blown up on this blog for easier reading).

Hawk-eyed members would be rewarded with the information that following the resolutions put to the AGM in March:

“…AIUK’s Board now has the task of analysing the decisions and determining the UK section’s approach to future international discussion on the subject.”

Couple of things:

1. What future discussions? The decision was apparently taken on 16 April – more than a month ago. The magazine manages to report on other stories that occurred several weeks after that date, so obviously production deadlines were not an issue in failing to report quite an important piece of information.

Did the AIUK Board forget to tell the editor that a decision had already been made or was this just a deliberate attempt to mislead AIUK members into thinking that there was still some doubt about what decision AI would come to ? Of course, this suggestion would have been unthinkable in the past, but that was before the shocking behavior of the AI Board on this matter and its attempts at a cover up had been revealed.

2. What happened to the democratic process that AI makes so much about in its secret documents? It appears that the AIUK Board is now quite clear: they’ll take the decision on what the membership really thought. Now could it be that they would side with the resolution to form a policy on adoption proposed by…err… the AIUK Board?

I’m sure that there will be a few dictators and aspiring dictators who are all in favor of this type of democracy.

When forced to address the abortion issue, AI representatives have often attempted to package their decision to advocate having an abortion as a “human right” with issues around protecting women from violence (AI has never quite explained just how abortion does this – isn’t killing an unborn child a pretty violent act?). Anyway, by taking this approach they have thus far succeeded in avoiding all the difficult questions that adopting this policy and their subsequent attempts to cover it up raise.

Now that Amnesty International’s leaders have apparently been successful in imposing their wishes on the organization, it is beholden on them to come clean about:

  • the real consultation process and why it was so biased;
  • why they failed to inform staff about the adoption of the policy;
  • why they were apparently quite happy to mislead AI members about the adoption of the policy;
  • why the policy was adopted before the slated date and why AI continued to say that a consultation was still ongoing, when the final decision had already been taken;
  • and, most importantly, provide a proper explanation as to why a human rights organization feels it can morally and logically adopt this policy.

On the last point, if AI is to justify its new position on abortion with any ounce of credibility it must provide the evidence of where and when life begins, for if it really believes in human rights, it must identify at what point a person exists to claim those rights. I suspect that this will be pretty problematic for the organization as, until now, no-one has been able to prove at what point a person exists (once we get 100% proof of this, then the abortion debate is over).

Given this lack of evidence, logically there are two positions that can be adopted: (more…)

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