Amnesty International Betrays Its Mission By Supporting Abortion

Action Alert

WASHINGTON, DC, August 29, 2007 - Amnesty International's controversial resolution to support abortion has undermined its credibility as a defender of human rights and caused a division within the organization: the chapters in Ireland and Malta have firmly refused to implement the new policy. The regrettable decision has forced many Catholics to leave the organization, with the most recent examples of Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia and Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh.

Scottish Cardinal Leaves AI 8/28

US Bishops Decry AI's Decision to Support Abortion 8/23

British Bishop Leav 8/19

Abortion Causes Rift at Amnesty International

Neutral on the issue of abortion since its founding by a Catholic convert, the late Peter Benenson, the organization's Executive Council voted to support "abortion rights" at its April meeting.

Since the decision was announced, Amnesty International has been repeatedly receiving strong rebukes from the Vatican and the U.S. Bishops, as well as from lay Catholic leaders around the world.

Cardinal Martino's call to withdraw support from Amnesty International

According to the National Catholic Register, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said, "I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission."

USCCB president, Bishop William Skylstad of the Spokane diocese, said, "The action of the Executive Council undermines Amnesty's longstanding moral credibility, diverts its mission, divides its own members (many of whom are Catholic or defend the rights of unborn children), and jeopardizes Amnesty's support by people in many nations, cultures and religion."

Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan, a long-time supporter of Amnesty International, also expressed strong opposition to the decision. "One cannot support an organization financially or even individually that is contravening something very serious in our ethic."

Amnesty Slams the Catholic Church

"We are a movement to protect citizens, including the believer, but we do not impose beliefs," said Kate Gilmore, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International. "Ours is a movement dedicated to upholding human rights, not specific theologies. Our purpose invokes the law and the state, not God. It means that sometimes the secular framework of human rights that Amnesty International upholds will converge neatly with the standpoints of certain faith based communities; sometimes it will not."

Amnesty International said they "urged the Catholic leadership to advocate tolerance and respect to freedom of expression for all human rights defenders, including Amnesty International, just as Amnesty International will continue to defend the freedom of religion."


  1. Withdraw support from Amnesty International until they revert to their former policy of neutrality on abortion.
  2. Write or call Amnesty International and ask them to return to their neutral position on abortion. See sample letter.

    Amnesty International USA
    5 Penn Plaza - 14th floor
    New York, NY 10001
    Phone (212) 807 8400
    Fax (212) 463 9193

    Amnesty International USA Board of Directors


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