Monday, July 9, 2007

Amnesty International’s Puzzling Neutrality [Jay]

This article by Ryan T. Anderson at The Weekly Standard discusses Amnesty International’s unpublicized resolution on abortion. They condemn any nation that does not provide an abortion alternative to women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest or to any woman whose life or health is threatened by the pregnancy as violators of human rights. If they categorize lack of abortion alternatives as a human rights violation, they are inescapably declaring that freedom to choose abortion is a human right. This is not neutrality on the issue of abortion and the life of the unborn.

I have had a hard time taking Amnesty International seriously for years now. My disillusionment began when I compared the lists of the United States' violations of human rights versus Cuba. It was a bit disturbing that AI seemed to view our nation as so much more dangerous to human rights than the Fidel Castro regime. This was several years ago, but I have never looked at the AI symbol the same since.

Anderson stresses the mistake that AI makes in declaring abortion a human right, however tacitly they are doing so. It undermines all of the coalitions that existed between them and the Catholic Church. In fact here is a snippet of the public announcement exchange:

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the Council's president, Renato Cardinal Martino, said that "individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support," since "by pushing for the decriminalization of abortion as part of their platform, Amnesty International has disqualified itself as a defender of human rights."

Response (Partial and includes editorial comments from Anderson) from AI:

Amnesty International--unlike the Catholic Church--exists to "protect citizens including the believer but [it does] not impose beliefs." Its work--unlike religious believers'--is all about "upholding human rights, not specific theologies." Its argument--unlike the pro-life one--"invokes the law and the state, not God." The statement ended with a pompous lecture that warned the Catholic Church "not to turn away from the suffering that women face because of sexual violence and urged the Catholic leadership to advocate tolerance and to respect freedom of expression for all human rights defenders, including Amnesty International, just as Amnesty International will continue to defend the freedom of religion."

But they take no position on the life of the unborn. Yeah, right.

I will post more on a comment that Anderson makes in reference to the pressure that can be placed on women to get abortions by outside forces in cultures that protect abortion as “right.” This is something that has burned me for a long time as man at a CPC.

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