CONTINUATION: Church Threatens Amnesty Boycott ; ABORTION ROW
the Vatican will call upon Catholics worldwide to boycott the organisation.
"If, in fact, Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organisations must withdraw their support because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, Amnesty International has betrayed its mission," he said.
Catholic delegates at this week's international conference of the organisation are likely to raise the issue, but the majority of the 400 delegates from around the world are believed to be firmly in favour of retaining the new policy.
Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by British lawyer and Roman Catholic convert Peter Benenson to campaign 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.
Amnesty's deputy general secretary, Kate Gilmore, denies the organisation has become "pro-abortion" insisting the organisation took as its guide legal not theological imperatives. "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," she said.
"Amnesty International stands alongside the victims and survivors of human rights violations. Our policy reflects our obligation of solidarity as a human rights movement with, for example, the rape survivor in Darfur who, because she is left pregnant as a result of the enemy, is further ostracised by her community. Ours is a movement dedicated to upholding human rights, not specific theologies. Our purpose invokes the law and the state, not God."
The Vatican is accusing Amnesty of double standards, because it opposes the death penalty in all circumstances but, it argues, under some circumstances will now condone the killing of an unborn child. …