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?



  1. 1
    bernie12 Says:


    It is my view that Amnesty has taken the correct policy in the extreme situation of genocide and endless rapes as we have witnessed in Rwanda and in other African states recently. A merciful God will not condemn these victims as easily as it seems from the secuity of the Vatican .

  2. 2

    My sentiments exactly, Tim.

  3. 3
    jim Says:

    Neil –
    This is a tough question (by the way according to Cardinal Martino the Vatican does not support Amnesty International financially).Here are a few rhetorical questions. If becoming pregnant is determined by God, can we interfere with it. If the pregnancy was caused by rape and the baby was aborted, why will the mother make the baby the enemy. Each and every one of us cannot fool two entities, one is God and the other is ourselves. Therefor is it not true that it is no ones business what a wowan does with her body.The busybodies should mind their own business.The woman will have to answer to her God.Also when is an abortion an abortion. What is happening often these days is that a woman is raped on the street and is transported to a hospital and at her request the thay use a douche on her.Vatican, B16 or Martino have we witnessed an abortion here?

  4. 4
    Barbara Says:

    I just LOVE the way men step right in with their opinions on what should be done about abortion and women’s bodies.
    That said, Jim has some good points. Although some solutions may not work in time of war or political instability. It is not an easy issue to discern and, ultimately, we all rely on the mercy of God. Just because you want to do something, just because it is easy, a liberal shibboleth, does not mean it is ultimately the right thing to do.
    I do think that Amnesty International stepped in it this time.

  5. 5
    Cate McB Says:

    This situation is not, as Tim says, an « extreme situation of genocide and endless rapes. »
    These rapes are part & parcel of the genocide. There are many ways to kill someone, even though a person’s physical life may remain after the killing. These rapes are organized, calculated acts of war on these women and the children, if born from rape, are born not out of love but out of war and will be constant reminders and embodiments of that war with the enemy for the women involved. If a woman wishes to have an abortion rather than giving birth in this situation, then in my opinion, so be it!!! And as far as Amnesty International is concerned, they cannot in my mind, speak and act against war on the one hand, and then support war by, for example, a « pro-life » stand that would force these women in effect, to bear the child conceived in war.

  6. 6
    Oscar Says:

    The woman, and the woman herself, should have the ultimate decision. End of discussion.

  7. 7

    I agree with Oscar.

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