Vatican Official Admonishes Amnesty for Considering Pro-Choice Stance

Human rights group Amnesty International is considering abandoning its neutral stance on reproductive rights in order to promote decriminalization of abortion worldwide. If it chooses to do so, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice, said the organization’s members would be “disqualified as defenders of human rights,” according to Reuters.

A strong supporter of justice and rights for women, in 2000, Amnesty International advocated for the right to legal abortion to be included in the United Nations’ declaration on women’s rights. The decision to change their neutral stance on reproductive rights, however, may take several years, according to Amnesty spokesperson James Dyson, in an interview with Reuters.

While the organization as a whole has yet to announce a public stance on abortion and reproductive rights, the charity’s Canadian, New Zealand, and British branches have voted to support the right to a safe, legal abortion, recognizing the need to make reproductive health services accessible and safe for women. In a public statement released on June 26, Amnesty International Canada wrote, “it was apparent that Amnesty International needed to determine a policy on sexual and reproductive rights” in order to further its work preventing human rights abuses of women and sexual violence.


Amnesty International Canada public statement 6/26/06; Amnesty International Press Release 3/5/04; Washington Post 6/21/06

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