Another Catholic Leader Wants Amnesty International to Drop Abortion Stance

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 12, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Another Catholic Leader Wants Amnesty International to Drop Abortion Stance Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 12,

Canberra, Australia ( — Another prominent Catholic leader has said he wants Amnesty International to reverse its new pro-abortion stances that its national affiliates signed off on a few weeks ago. Archbishop Philip Wilson, the president of the Australian Bishops Conference, is the latest to criticize the human rights group.

"Catholic people have had a long association with Amnesty International, going right back to its inception and the two bodies have been closely aligned in their commitment to social justice," he said.

Archbishop Wilson said in a statement that he has twice written to Amnesty officials asking that they change the new policy promoting abortions for victims of sexual abuse.

He said the policy could be changed any time, no matter how long the group has it in place.

"I would urge them to do so," he said.

Two leading Catholic officials have resigned their memberships with Amnesty International over the abortion issue.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland said he could no longer be affiliated with the organization after joining as a student more than 40 years ago.

The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland wrote the director of the group and said it gave him "great sadness" to renounce his membership but he can’t support a group that opposes a "basic right to human life."

"As a matter of conscience and with great sadness I have decided to resign from Amnesty International having first joined as a student and supported it over many decades," Cardinal O’Brien wrote about his decision.

Cardinal O’Brien’s leaving Amnesty follows that of Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia who said the group’s pro-abortion position would divide its membership and hurts its less controversial work.

"If Amnesty International becomes an organization which affirms the right to abortion, even under certain circumstances, it is free democratically to do so," Bishop Evans told the BBC.

"But it cannot expect those of us who are just as passionate about the human rights of the unborn child to feel at ease being part of such an organization," he added.