Cardinal Renato Murio, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that Amnesty International had "betrayed its mission" on human rights by abandoning its policy of neutrality on abortion.
Kate Allen, head of Amnesty International in the United Kingdom, told The Guardian that 222 of its quarter of a million British members had resigned as a result of its policy change. 105 members, she claimed, increased their donations as a result.
Last August the organization's international council voted to revoke its previous neutrality on abortion. It decided to support access to abortion for women who had been raped, or become pregnant as a result of incest, or whose health was threatened by a continued pregnancy. It is also advocating that abortion be decriminalized in countries that have outlawed it. They said the change was an attempt to address issues such as the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war in conflict zones such as Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ms. Allen said the organization still wanted to co-operate with Catholics. "We are very keen to keep our approach to the Catholic church open and keep a dialogue going. I am disappointed that the Catholic Church has categorized us as a pro-abortion group. That ... simplifies things to a sense that I think is a bit nonsensical really," she said.
High-profile Catholic clergy like the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh Cardinal Keith O'Brien, and Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia have resigned from the organization. More recently, eight schools in Northern Ireland closed or suspended their Amnesty International groups, and 2,000 Catholic schools in England and Wales were advised to sever their ties with the organization in a letter from bishops.
.- Fallout continues over the human rights advocacy group Amnesty International's decision to press for the legalization of abortion and to support access to abortion for women who have been raped, The Guardian reports.