Liberal Groups Also Lobby Amnesty International to Stay Neutral on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 3, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Liberal Groups Also Lobby Amnesty International to Stay Neutral on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 3, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life groups that are traditional or religious in nature are not the only ones putting pressure on Amnesty International to retain its neutral stance on the issue of abortion. A liberal pro-life group and a Democratic organization are also hoping the human rights watchdog does not adopt a pro-abortion position.

Consistent Life is organizing a petition drive to ask AI officials to count the number of calls and emails they are getting from pro-life people.

The group, which some pro-life advocates may know from years past as the Seamless Garment Network, says it has learned that pro-life people calling AI about its proposal on abortion "received curt responses stating that AI is maintaining neutrality, in contradiction to the form letters the same people receive after writing to AI."

"We have found no indication that the phone calls or the letters are being tallied in order to give decision-makers an accurate assessment of the widespread dismay their decisions can cause," the group said in a statement provided to

Consistent Life says that some callers have been told by AI officials that its consideration of a pro-abortion policy is nothing more than a rumor.

That’s despite dozens of news reports in various media outlets and votes by AI affiliates in Canada, England and New Zealand in favor of the pro-abortion idea.

The group’s petition seeks the names of AI backers who would be upset by its abortion position change.

"We have contributed money or actions to Amnesty International, and want to be able to continue to do so in good conscience," the petition says. "We are distressed about the move to frame abortion as a right, rather than understanding it as a form of violence."

Meanwhile, a leader of the national organization for pro-life Democrats has also condemned Amnesty International’s proposal to support abortion.

Carol Nan Crossed, a vice president for Democrats for Life of America, told, the group helped a close personal friend of hers but would lose her support if it backs abortion.

"In the ’80’s, Amnesty International advocated on behalf of a human rights co-worker and American Indian friend who was killed in Guatemala," Crossed said.

"I have continued to admire their purity of purpose in other efforts to protect the rights of every human person," Crossed explained. "Support for abortion as a right is not only a mismatch, but a mockery."

AI is more than a year away from a likely discussion and vote on the issue at its annual meeting in Mexico City in 2007 but the debate is already heating up in advance.

AI could adopt the pro-abortion position by a consensus or formal vote or send the discussion back to its affiliates for further consideration.

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. 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.

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, AI’s proposal says it will encourage NGOs who lobby at the UN to press for an international document saying abortion is a human right.

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.”

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.

Related web sites:
Consistent Life petition on Amnesty International –
Democrats for Life of America –
Amnesty International –