British and New Zealand Amnesty International Groups Back Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 18, 2006

New York, NY ( — The British and New Zealand national affiliates of Amnesty International have endorsed an AI proposition to change the human rights group’s stance on abortion from one of neutrality to one favoring it. AI’s decision to consider whether or not to take a pro-abortion stance is upsetting human rights campaigners across the globe who say the right to life is the basic human right.

Amnesty International will consider the pro-abortion proposal at an international meeting in Mexico next year. Until then, national AI affiliates are contacting their members for input on whether it should support the idea.

The British and New Zealand branches have already decided to support it, according to the Cybercast News Service.

The British affiliate approved the following resolution to support the pro-abortion platform: "The full realization of human rights should be understood to mean that a woman’s right to physical and mental integrity includes a right to (a) information on the risks of abortion (b) legal safe and accessible abortion should she choose to have an abortion."

According to CNS, the British affiliate voted down two alternatives, one saying the affiliate should take no position and another promoting "the fundamental principal of the right to life of every human person."

Precious Life, a British pro-life group, has condemned the vote.

It said Amnesty International’s British group has "turned its back on human rights, the very thing they have campaigned to protect for over forty years."

"Abortion can never be described as a ‘right,’ " the group said in a statement. "Abortion is a needless act of violence that kills babies and hurts women."

Meanwhile, New Zealand Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr told CNS that his group was disappointed by the AI group there and its decision to endorse abortion.

He said the decision was inconsistent because AI New Zealand also backs the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states "the child … needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."

Should AI promote abortion, pro-life advocates are concerned at the international effects the decision will have.

AI would likely begin filing lawsuits on behalf of women in nations where abortion is illegal, such as the recent lawsuit that legalized abortion in Columbia in cases of rape and incest or severe fetal handicaps.

"This kind of change will put the lives of unborn children into the hands of one of the most powerful groups in the world," Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute told CNS. "They can throw the weight of the international legal community against the unborn."

Thanks to Bush administration officials, the United Nations has not ratified documents declaring abortion an international right and the president will likely work to prevent that as long as he is in office.

However, the AI documents say they will encourage NGOs who lobby at the UN to press for an international document saying abortion is a human right.

In the proposal for members to consider, AI says abortion should become an international right and pro-life laws toppled in nations that have them.

Currently, Amnesty International says it “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.”

The meeting in Mexico will take place in August 2007.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Amnesty International that you don’t want it to become a pro-abortion organization fighting to make abortion legal worldwide. Go to to contact the group and express your opposition. Also, use the group’s web site to find your national affiliate and tell them you oppose the idea.

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