By Peter J. Smith

  EDINBURGH, March 28, 2007 ( – Members of Amnesty International’s UK branch (AIUK) voted to endorse advocating abortion as a human right at the 2007 National Conference and Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh last weekend.

  Catholic News Service (CNS) reports delegates attending the meeting from all over the United Kingdom approved the AIUK Board’s proposals to abandon the long-held neutral stance on abortion during the March 23-25 AGM.

  AIUK formally adopted advocating legalization of abortion in cases of rape, incest, sexual assault and when the mother’s life is at risk, despite the fact a consultation report showed AIUK members closely divided over abortion. In 3 questions on abortion, a plurality of members in each question voted against changing AIUK’s neutral abortion stance. (

  Members upset with the decision to approve abortion have accused the AIUK  Board of manipulating the debate and consultation period to get the results they wanted.

  Member Debby Wakeham of Luton, England, told CNS that the pro-abortion motion was “imposed from top down” by delegates, who did not represent the views of the members. Wakeham said the push “has not come from the membership, and it has not come from the countries in which Amnesty works.”

  The International Executive Committee of Amnesty International may decide as early as next month whether or not to change the current position depending on the support its receives from its national chapters. Amnesty International will also decide at the 2007 International Council Meeting in Mexico on expanding abortion advocacy as a “woman’s right to physical and mental integrity.”

  Amnesty International’s current policy on abortion states: “AI takes no position on whether or not women have a right to choose to terminate unwanted pregnancies; there is no generally accepted right to abortion in international human rights law.”

  Both the Catholic Church and other pro-life organizations have warned that abortion advocacy will lead to an unnecessary split in Amnesty International, and will lose their support. 

  To contact Amnesty International with concerns:

  International Secretariat
  1 Easton Street
  WC1X 0DW, UK
  Phone: 44-20-74135500
  Fax: 44-20-79561157

  To contact Amnesty International via e-mail see:
  (Click on Send a message to this section/office)

  See Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

  UK Amnesty Members Narrowly Reject Abortion Advocacy in Consultation Report

  UK Bishops Appeal Amnesty International to Protect Unborn Life

  UK Bishop Warns of Catholic Break with Amnesty International over Pro-Abortion Stance

  Amnesty International Getting Cold Feet over Abortion Support, New Zealand Branch Clarifies

  Vatican Condemns Amnesty International’s Move Towards Abortion Advocacy

  Amnesty International Considers Pushing Enforcement of Abortion as Human Right


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