By John-Henry Westen
OTTAWA, May 8, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic and Evangelical leaders are speaking out against proposals within the famous human rights organization Amnesty International to enter into abortion advocacy.Â Outspoken human rights advocate and Calgary Bishop Fred Henry told LifeSiteNews.com, “The proposal of Amnesty International to enter into abortion advocacy is an ill-conceived and gross betrayal of their mission to campaign for human rights.”
After LifeSiteNews.com broke the story about Amnesty’s consultation with members in Canada to pursue abortion as a human right (https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/apr/06042511.html) eight newspapers in Canada covered it (https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/apr/06042706.html) causing a stir in Amnesty’s national ranks.ÂÂ
LifeSiteNews.com reported Friday that Amnesty’s UK branch has already decided to approve abortion advocacy and the Canadian branch is to decide by May 20. (https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/may/06050504.html)
“It is impossible that one could have a ‘right’ to do something at odds with human nature and the dignity of the human person,” added Bishop Henry.
Bishop Henry explained that Amnesty’s proposed move is contrary to its own mandate.Â“AI’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. They seem to have lost sight of Article 3. – ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.’”Â
Rather than abortion advocacy he suggests they defend the rights of the unborn. “Since part of their mission is to undertake research and action focussed on preventing and ending grave abuses of rights, a more logical move would have been to direct their research efforts to explore the unambiguous medical status of the unborn child instead of advocating a further betrayal of vulnerable children,” he said.
Bishop Henry concluded saying, “I, for one, will cease my financial support for Amnesty International.”
Janet Epp Buckingham of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada lamented the proposed new direction for Amnesty and warned that it may cost the organization its support from the Christian community.Â“It’s disappointing news, I think it could have a negative impact on the important work they do for prisoners of conscience and I believe it will have an impact on support by Evangelical Christians for Amnesty particularly if this becomes a global trend,” she told LifeSiteNews.com.
Sylvain Salvas, spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, concurred.Â Salvas told LifeSiteNews.com, “We don’t support any project that favours abortion, that’s for sure.”
Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic human rights agency, expressed disappointment over Amnesty’s proposal.Â Father Joaquin Alliende, ACN’s international ecclesiastical assistant, told the Catholic News Service Friday: “With great regret we have learned that Amnesty International has proposed advancing abortion ‘rights’ around the world as a new mission for their organization.”
Fr. Alliende explained: “AI has earned a high reputation for its intensive efforts to gain the release of innocent prisoners on conscience. ACN, a charity that is also often a ‘voice of the voiceless,’ highly appreciates this moral commitment of AI.” Fr. Alliende added, “Now by proposing a pro-abortion initiative AI is abandoning its own noble ethical principles, thereby shaking the very foundations on which it is built; for the simple reason that unborn life in a mother’s womb is the very weakest of all threatened and persecuted human beings. Thus the day this initiative (is) launched will become a day of mourning for all those who are unconditionally committed to true humanism.”