by Steven Ertelt
March 29, 2007
London, England (LifeNews.com) — The British affiliate of the human rights watchdog Amnesty International held a vote last weekend and decided to endorse abortion. The vote comes on the heels of it supporting a motion encouraging the international group to take a pro-abortion position itself.
Until now, the British affiliate like other branches of the international organization, has maintained a neutral stance on abortion issues.
As a result of the vote, the group now considers countries with pro-life laws that prohibit abortions in violation of the human rights of women.
The vote is important because the International Executive Committee of Amnesty International is considering adopting a formal policy on abortion. AIUK’s vote will be used by Amnesty International to gauge the will of its members.
A final decision on the abortion resolution is expected at the next International Council Meeting in Mexico in August.
New Catholics for a Free Choice president Jon O’Brien, of Ireland, said he supported the British affiliate’s vote.
"Increasingly, human rights advocacy groups the world over are realizing that a woman’s freedom is intimately tied to her ability to control her reproductive health," the pro-abortion group’s leader said.
Last May, both the British and New Zealand national affiliates endorsed an AI proposition to change the human rights group’s stance on abortion from one of neutrality to one favoring it.
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, 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."
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.”
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 https://web.amnesty.org/contacts/engindex 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:
Amnesty International – https://www.amnesty.org