US Bishops Urge Amnesty International to Reject its Abortion Advocacy

By Elizabeth O’Brien

  WASHINGTON, DC, July 4, 2007 ( - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has urged Amnesty International (AI) to return to its neutral position on abortion when the AI International Council meets in Mexico this August.

  The President of the USCCB, Bishop William S. Skylstad, urged AI to renounce its position on abortion in a July 2 statement. He wrote, "The action of the Executive Council undermines Amnesty’s longstanding moral credibility, diverts its mission, divides its own members (many of whom are Catholic or defend the rights of unborn children), and jeopardizes Amnesty’s support by people in many nations, cultures and religions."

  He further pointed out that AI-USA has already acted upon the organization’s new position by opposing laws that would restrict abortion.

"While the proposed action by Amnesty International may appear to some to support women’s freedom or provide a compassionate response to women in difficult situations of pregnancy, abortion injures the health and dignity of women at the same time that it ends the life of the unborn child," the Bishop stated.

"A far more compassionate response is to provide support and services for pregnant women, advance their educational and economic standing in society, and resist all forms of violence and stigmatization against them. The Catholic Church provides these services to many women around the world and commits itself to continuing to do so."

  Skylstad also referred to the words of Cardinal Renato Martino, who stated earlier in June, "I believe that, 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."

  The Bishop concluded by once again urging AI to "reconsider and rescind" saying, "It is never too late to seek justice for all vulnerable and oppressed members of the human family."

  Prior to AI’s policy change, Catholic Bishops in the United States, Canada, England and Wales urged and warned the organization not to adopt a pro-abortion stance. Since AI gave its official support to abortion, however, the organization has experienced a significant decline in support among members and donors (see Many pro-lifers hope this drop may influence AI to return to its previous neutral position.

  Read the complete statement by Bishop Skylstad:

  Read previous coverage:

  U.S. Bishops Urge Amnesty International To Reject Abortion Initiative

  Canadian Bishops Conference Warns AI of Loss of Catholic Funding over Abortion

  Amnesty International: We’re Supporting Abortion because of Gay Rights

  Vatican: Catholics and Catholic Organizations "Must" Withdraw Support of AI over Abortion Support

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