The Catholic Peter Berenson founded Amnesty International in 1961 to identify and support prisoners of conscience around the world. Amnesty now has 1.8 million members including many Catholics and numerous bishops.
Up till recently Amnesty maintained a neutral attitude on abortion. But partly in response to thousands of rapes in Darfur (from which many women became pregnant) Amnesty now wants to focus on the prevention of violence against women as one of its main concerns.
A spokeswoman for the group denies this makes Amnesty “pro-abortion”: “Amnesty International’s position is not for abortion as a right but for women’s human rights to be free of fear and coercion as they manage all consequences of rape and other human rights violations.”
The Catholic periodical The Tablet says this puts Catholic supporters of Amnesty “in an unenviable position, torn between a desire to further Amnesty’s work for prisoners while unable to countenance its position on abortion.” As a result many Catholic bishops in England are quitting the organization.
I seems to me this begs the question: Does restrictive support for abortion (in cases of rape) trump all the good work that Amnesty is doing world-wide for prisoners of conscience like the courageous Aung San Suu Kyi who has just been thrown back into prison in Burma?
Even if the answer to that question is in the affirmative, could not an arrangement be made so that Catholic contributions could be sequestered from any abortion activities.
I find it hard to accept the proposition that Amnesty’s commendable work for prisoners of conscience the world over should be crippled or reduced because the organization supports abortion in case of rape and pregnancy (a position I daresay many Catholics also support.)
What do you think?