Vatican Official Urges Catholic Church to Boycott Amnesty International Over Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 14, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Vatican Official Urges Catholic Church to Boycott Amnesty International Over Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 14
, 2007

The Vatican ( — A leading Vatican official is calling on Catholics worldwide to boycott Amnesty International after the human rights group adopted an official position backing abortion. Catholic leaders worldwide warned that AI would likely lose tens of thousands of members because of the position and the call for a boycott would likely lead to that.

Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, issued the call in an interview with the National Catholic Register.

“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,” Cardinal Martino said.

In the interview, he attacked the “pro-abortion pressure groups which continue their propaganda in the framework of what (the late Pope) John Paul II called ‘the culture of death.”

“It is extremely worrying that an organization as worthy as Amnesty International bends to the pressures of these groups,” he added.

Meanwhile, Martino said the Catholic Church says it is suspending any financial support or donations to the human rights group.

“No more Catholic financing of Amnesty International after the organization’s pro-abortion about-turn,” he said. He called the decision an “inevitable consequence.”

Martino added that Amnesty International’s contention that abortion can be justified in some situations is morally indefensible.

“The Church teaches that it is never justifiable to kill an innocent human life. Abortion is murder. To selectively justify abortion, even in the cases of rape, is to define the innocent child within the womb as an enemy, a ‘thing’ that must be destroyed. How can we say that killing a child in some cases is good and in other cases it is evil?” he said.

Other pro-life leaders have also come out strongly against the AI decision to endorse abortion.

"The killing of an unborn child by abortion can never be construed to be a human right," top pro-life congressman Chris Smith said in a statement provided to "Therefore, taking a position that supports violence against children is antithetical to everything Amnesty International stands for."

"It is not possible for Amnesty to justify any position that condones abortion based on international human rights law while at the same time remain true to their principles," Smith said.

Amnesty International was founded by a Catholic convert in 1961 and has always retained a strong following within the Church but that could change following the decision to endorse abortion and the call for a boycott.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Amnesty International that you want it to reverse its decision to support abortion. 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.