Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by British lawyer and Roman Catholic convert, Peter Benenson, to compaign on behalf of prisoners of conscience. Since then, with the backing of the Vatican, it has grown to a worldwide membership of 1.8 million and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.
Today, however, the Vatican is threatening to withdraw its moral and financial support from Amnesty and to forbid all Catholics from supporting it. The reason is that at its current meeting in Mexico city, Amnesty is set to adopt a decision to back abortion for rape victims. This decision follows the use of mass rape as a political weapon in the conflict in Darfur. Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has threatened that unless Amnesty’s new policy is reversed, the Vatican will call upon Catholics worldwide to boycott the organization.
A senior Amnesty spokeswoman denies the organization is “pro-abortion”: “Amnesty International’s position is not for abortion as a right but for women’s human rights to be free of fear, threat and coercion as they manage all consequences of rape and other grave human rights violations.”
Is it your view that a woman, regardless of her age or circumstances, who has been brutally raped should, if she becomes pregnant, be forced by society to carry her foetus to term?