By Elizabeth O’Brien
LONDON, United Kingdom, July 31, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This August Amnesty International (AI) will have a final opportunity to discuss its recent pro-abortion stance as international leaders meet at the organization’s International Council meeting in Mexico City.
The International Council is the ultimate authority for the making and carrying out of AI policy, governing the “vision, mission and core values” of the organization, according to the AI website. Canadian AI Media Officer Beth Berton-Hunter told LifeSiteNews.com that AI leaders from across the globe will be gathering for a Council meeting on August 11 to discuss various issues.
She underlined, however, that the process of deciding policy works by grassroots consensus. “We all have the individual meetings,” she said, “and then we present resolutions at the international meeting. It’s a forum where we discuss all policy. It’s a dynamic process. It’s very much a debating kind of meeting.”
As the meeting approaches – which will give AI members the opportunity to reopen the discussion on its abortion policy – Church leaders have urged AI to revoke its pro-abortion stance.
Disregarding their pleas, however, and the dissatisfaction of countless AI members worldwide, the organization appears to be holding firmly to its newfound pro-abortion position. On Monday Secretary General Irene Khan stated that the abortion policy would be neither endorsed nor revoked at the Council meeting. She told Reuters, “The purpose of the Council meeting is not to endorse this policy because this policy already exists.”
AI used delicate wording to defend its position, claiming that it doesn’t specifically support abortion as a woman’s right. As Christian Today reports, Khan stated, “Having a policy doesn’t mean that we are in favor of abortion as a right, that’s not the position we are taking as an organization.”
“A policy has been made,” she continued, “that Amnesty should support women to be able to make the decision to terminate pregnancy without fear of violence in these limited cases of sexual violence or where the life of the mother or her health is very seriously threatened.”
It is no secret, however, that the practical result is that AI has committed to working for easy access to abortion worldwide by seeking universal decriminalization.
When AI was discussing the new policy, the Catholic bishops of Canada, England, Wales and the United States condemned the move. In a June 14 interview with the U.S. National Catholic Register, Vatican Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, unequivocally condemned AI’s position. He stated, “If in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission.”
In light of this statement, Khan appears naively hopeful, as reported by Christian Today, stating, “The Catholic Church is a religious organisation drawing its principles from other sources. Where we coincide, we have a very fruitful partnership and I look forward to continuing partnership on those issues.”
AI deputy secretary-general Kate Gilmore accused the Catholic Church of misrepresenting the organization, the Toronto Star reports. She lashed out, “We have the dirt under the nail and the blood and pain of the people that we are responding to. The Catholic Church, through a misrepresented account of our position on selective aspects of abortion, is placing in peril work on human rights.”
Gilmore continued, “Our purpose invokes the law and the state, not God. It means that sometimes the secular framework of human rights that Amnesty upholds will converge neatly with the standpoint of certain faith-based communities; sometimes it will not.”
Read previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Catholic Colleges Asked to Withdraw Support from Amnesty International for Abortion Advocacy
Vatican Condemns Amnesty International’s Move Towards Abortion Advocacy
Vatican: Catholics and Catholic Organizations “Must” Withdraw Support of Amnesty International over Abortion Support
US Bishops Urge Amnesty International to Reject its Abortion Advocacy
Canadian Bishops Conference Warns AI of Loss of Catholic Funding over Abortion