By Hilary White
Â
June 2, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After a majority vote by the Canadian branch at their Winnipeg meeting last week to adopt abortion as a ‘human right,’ Amnesty International will move forward with its consideration of supporting decriminalization of abortion in Portugal this summer and then on to abortion on demand the following year.
Â
  The US Bishops’ Catholic News Service (CNS) reports that Amnesty’s Canadian delegation will present their position supporting decriminalization of abortion at an International Executive Committee meeting in July 2006 in Portugal. Britain and New Zealand have also voted to support abortion.
Â
  CNS reports that the next step is already mapped out in the agenda. Amnesty’s general meeting in August 2007 in Mexico is set to consider support for abortion on demand. The meeting will consider whether the “right to physical and mental integrity includesÂ[a woman’s]Âright to terminate her pregnancy.” This matches the “health” exception in the US where “health of the mother” has been interpreted to give a blanket permission for abortion for any reason.
Â
  CNS reports that the US branch of Amnesty refused to disclose the way their membership voted on decriminalization, calling it “an internal matter”.
Â
  The organization was charged at their Mexico 2005 meeting to deal with questions of
  decriminalization of abortion, “access to quality services for the management of complications arising from abortion, and legal, safe and accessible abortion in the cases of rape, sexual assault, incest and risk to a woman’s life.”
Â
  CNS quotes Congressman Christopher Smith of New Jersey saying he hoped Amnesty would not go the way of other international groups. “I would hope they reject it,” he said. “They would cease to be a human rights organization and morph into just another anti-child, pro-abortion organization.”
Â
  Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia, England, wrote to Amnesty, asking that the organization not go down the abortion path. Evans pointed out that Amnesty International, like the United Nations, was founded by a Catholic. “Peter Benenson, a Catholic layman, founded it in 1961,” he said in a letter April 21.
Â
  Benenson, who died in 2005, was involved in adopting orphans from the Spanish Civil War and bringing Jews who had fled Hitler’s Germany to Britain. He founded Amnesty International in response to the proliferation of institutionalized injustice, death camps, legal torture, abuse of police powers and ideological imprisonment, following the Second World War.
Â
  Many Catholics around the world support the work of Amnesty International at exposing injustice in the legal systems, said Evans, and the organization is risking enormous financial losses, as well as moral prestige.
Â
  A statement published on Bishop Evans’ website said, “It would be very difficult for Catholics and many others to continue as formal members of an organisation which explicitly excluded some of the most vulnerable of all-the ‘unborn human’-from its current campaign to ‘Protect the Human.’”
Â
  Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
  Bishop: “I, for one, will cease my financial support for Amnesty International”
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/may/06050805.html
Â
  Bishop, Author of Amnesty International Prayer, to Resign over Abortion Stance
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/jun/06060105.html