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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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


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


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:

A leading Australian newspaper has accused Amnesty International’s leaders of putting dogmatism over practical necessities at the expense of the developing world and warned that their victory in pushing through the policy would be a Pyrrhic one.

In a stinging editorial, The Age newspaper, one of the few mainstream newspapers to cover the issue, said that AI’s decision to advocate abortion as a human right, while knowing that it would alienate and fracture substantial part of its membership was detrimental to human rights work.

Can Amnesty really afford such a fracturing of its traditional support base? In an era defined by the compromises of realpolitik, it is almost breathtaking in its audacity.

The simple fact is that this move will imperil Amnesty’s activities in Third World countries, where the church is one of the few champions of the oppressed. To adopt a policy that by its very nature will alienate the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, along with members of other faiths and an unknown number outside the religious apparatus who consider abortion to be morally wrong, is an example of dogmatism overriding practical necessity.

Until now, much of this criticism has been leveled at AI from church groups, politicians and activists. The Age is one of Australia’s most respected newspapers and is the first major newspaper to criticize the organization in such strong terms. But the editorial of the Melbourne based publication went on to repeat warnings rehearsed by many other people, that AI had damaged its brand and risked losing its authority. It continued:

The world clearly needs Amnesty International. To argue it should confine itself to issues that fit uncontroversially under the human rights umbrella is not to deny that women’s rights are human rights. It is to recognise that to undermine a brand that until now has been unique in the respect it holds would fracture its support base and, along with it, its authority among the non-liberal majority of the globe.

If supporters splinter off the monolith that was Amnesty, etiolating its persuasiveness, its reproach – both silent and vocal – to abusers of human rights, any victory against the religious and moral objectors in its ranks will be Pyrrhic indeed.

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.

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