Amnesty International’s UK branch (AIUK) voted last weekend at their annual conference in favor of supporting the right to safe and legal abortion. Until now, AIUK, like other branches of the international organization, has maintained a neutral stance on abortion issues. In response to current repressive abortion laws, however, AIUK has changed its position in order to continue protecting women’s freedom, reproductive and sexual health, and human rights.
The International Executive Committee of Amnesty International began considering adopting a formal policy on abortion rights in 2005. AIUK’s vote will be used by Amnesty International to gauge the will of its members. A final decision is expected to be reached at the next International Council Meeting in Mexico in August 2007.
Catholics for a Free Choice President Jon O’Brien supports AIUK’s decision, saying, “Increasingly, human rights advocacy groups the world over are realizing that a woman”s freedom is intimately tied to her ability to control her reproductive health. Be it the UK, Ireland or Mexico, all women deserve access to safe, legal abortion. Amnesty International UK has a great opportunity to affirm that reproductive rights, including the right to end a pregnancy through abortion, are a vital part of the human rights canon.”