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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I HAD AN email this morning about the blog asking why there was so much information from the Catholic Church. We’re always happy to hear from people and you can email us at saveamnesty @ gmail.com (you’ll need to remove the spaces on either side of the @ symbol – they’re added to reduce spam).

We do have a lot of information from the Catholic Church and the Catholic hierarchy – that is because many of the Church’s statements reflects the position we hold over this issue and the Church has been more vocal about the issue than any other organisation. But we have stressed in the past that this is not just a Catholic matter – and in the blog there are links to comments on the issue from different Christian denominations, other religions, including Islam, and those with no faith. We would be delighted to consider all comments from different religious groups and those with no affinity – and would be grateful for any information on this.

While we freely admit that we object to Amnesty International’s newly adopted abortion policy on moral and ethical grounds, that is far from our only objection and concern; for example, we’ve argued in the past that the policy is:

  • Inconsistent with AI’s s stated aim of protecting human rights;its arguments for other human rights; and inconsistent with international human rights laws, treaties and conventions. (more…)

ELEANOR Roosevelt inspecting the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Included in the Declaration is the right to life. According to Amnesty International’s new policy on abortion apparently there was some small print in there that she missed: AI thinks that you have to be at a certain stage of life before they apply and until then other people’s rights take priority…some people are just more equal than others, the human rights organisation appears to believe. I think the bottom picture should also include “subject to status”! Thanks to KD for sending this in. (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


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…)

Zimbabwe was once a prosperous nation – the bread basket of Africa – well farmed, with a strong economy and a stable government: it was a nation that, for all its faults and its needs for social reform (which included the need for fairer distribution of land), thrived and was respected. We know the reality today. A brutal, corrupt and incompetent government has brought the country to its knees: it relies on the handouts from the UK, EU and US to survive and bites the hand that feeds it; its mind-boggling inflation rates and mounting debt has forced electricity supplies to be slashed to 4 hours a day. So it makes a mockery of the United Nations that Zimbabwe has been chosen to head the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development.

Amnesty International has been respected for its human rights work since it started; campaigning for the rights of individuals and saving many thousands of lives in the process. It well-deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for its work. But, as we have seen with Zimbabwe, reputations crumble quickly. It is no less of a mockery to human rights that AI has adopted a policy that advocates abortion and continues to call itself a human rights organization, than Zimbabwe’s chairmanship of the CSD is a mockery of the UN. AI is aware that its decision to advocate abortion is not only divisive and contrary to members’ wishes, but it also risks denying millions of individuals their human rights (see previous post).

But there is still time for AI bosses to reflect on the wishes of the organization’s members, its past triumphs and reverse this policy, before AI – like Zimbabwe’s leaders – irrevocably loses widespread support and respect. Urge Amnesty’s leaders to take this opportunity and tell them that there is, in effect, still time to SAVE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL.

On UN World Freedom of the Press day, here’s Amnesty International USA’s response to some anticipated bad press (with a couple of comments)

Media Response Letter on Amnesty International’s
Policy on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
April, 2007

Note: This letter is only to be sent to newspapers as a response to articles, editorials or letters to the editor that are critical of the new sexual and reproductive rights policy; it is not to be sent proactively. (oops!!)

To The Editor:
Violence against women is pervasive worldwide. (Yes, this is dreadful, but this is not the issue here) In conflict zones from Bosnia to Sudan to Guatemala, rape has been used as a weapon of war. (And how many Amnesty International members and good thinking people do not abhor this? Again, this is clouding the issue.) The World Health Organization estimates that one woman in five will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. (Again, absolutely dreadful, but not the point here. This tactic of trying to make out that those people who oppose abortion do not care for protecting women is low – and wrong) (more…)

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