Friday, June 15, 2007

Amnesty International Distresses Many of Its Supporters

[Note Jim Forest's & Fr. Dan Berrigan's commnets]

Contact: Rachel M. MacNair, Ph.D.AI Campaign Coordinator, Consistent LifePhone: 816-753-2057 (Central Time Zone)

Despite pleas from many supporters, Amnesty International (AI) has recently adopted a new policy which ignores human rights documents it has historically advocated for; specifically, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child states that every child “needs special safeguards and care, including legal protection, before as well as after birth.” [Resolution 1386(XIV) of 20 November 1959]. AI has stated that abortion should be decriminalized and the governments should see that there is access to it in particular cases. While it maintains its previous stand against blatantly forced abortions, the pressures that coerce and abandon women to abortion have been ignored. AI decision-makers appear unaware that women who have had abortions make up one of the largest constituency groups of the anti-abortion movement.

The AI International Executive Committee took this action despite indications that substantial numbers of members disapproved. Internal polling in AI’s U.K. chapter showed a plurality against it. The results of an on-line vote of members in the United States last Fall have yet to be announced. A member who tried to leaflet other members on this issue at the U.S. national conference on March 24 was barred, and when she asked if she was being censored, she was told yes. For more details and documentation, see http://www.consistent-life.org/ai.html.A registry of AI supporters who pled with AI not to take this step is available at http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/consistentlife. Signers include Fr. Daniel Berrigan, who commented: “My moral conviction on abortion and the rights of the unborn are more serious than 'a point of view' . . . It's as close to my conscience as war and the death penalty.” Other signers include Jim Forest, Founder of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation; Prisoner of Conscience Tom Cordero; and Cecilia Brown, noted for her international gay-rights activism. Shelley Douglass, known for her leadership in anti-nuclear weapons activism, states, “as time passes, we will come to understand the violence of abortion.” CONTINUE...

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