News that the Catholic Church would rather condone (by ignoring) human rights abuses rather than support an organisation that supports women’s rights isn’t really news I guess, in the sense that the Catholic Church has a history of ignoring (or sponsoring) human rights abuses. But this week Vatican spokesman on justice and peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, called for Catholics to stop contributing to Amnesty International because of their policy of supporting access to abortion in limited circumstances.
(Side note – Amnesty have long had a neutral policy on abortion but they recently issued a policy supporting access to abortion in cases of rape, incest, risk to the mother or endangering the mothers health. In other cases they remain neutral.)
The Cardinal averred that
“The inevitable consequence of this decision will be the suspension of any financing to Amnesty on the part of Catholic organizations and also individual Catholics,”
“We have not accepted funds from the Vatican and do not accept funds from any other state in support of our work against human rights violations. Millions of people around the world of many faiths and creeds donate to Amnesty International as individuals. Among them are welcome donations from members of the Catholic faith. We hope that Amnesty InternationaI’s work against torture, against the death penalty and for the proper administration of justice including for women and girls will continue to draw active support from people of conviction the world over.”
Later a different Vatican spokesman had to admit that the Catholic Church and it’s formal network of organisations had never donated to Amnesty. Martino is well known as a headline seeker having previously courted the media through supporting GM foods and denying climate change. He went on to reiterate his call for Catholics to withdraw support for Amnesty International in an interview yesterday claiming that Amnesty International is “promoting abortion
Amnesty International have gone on to reaffirm their commitment to the rights of women and girls to be free from threat, force or coercion as they exercise their sexual and reproductive rights including
opposition of forced abortion
support for the decriminalisation of abortion
to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion
to defend women’s access to abortion, within reasonable gestational limits, when their health or human rights are in danger.