Monday, July 07, 2008

Amnesty International pushes abortion in Mexico

Action: As the Vatican and the Bishops of England and Wales have asked, Catholic support must be withdrawn from AI, if this has not already been done: school groups and individual memberships, use of Church premises and fundraising.

From CFNews: The Catholic Family Institute (C-Fam) reports from New York on a story that no one yet has. ' We report that Amnesty International has filed a brief with the Mexican Supreme Court asking them to uphold the newly liberalized abortion laws in Mexico City. In its brief, Amnesty erroneously cites UN documents to support its claim. It also cites the non-binding recommendations of one UN committee. The other story we have today is how the US government has not only de-funded the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund for its support of China's coercive one-child policy, but is also looking at other organizations who may face de-funding for similar reasons. Stay tuned.

Pro-abortion memorandum

Piero A. Tozzi and Juan Carlos Perez write : Global human rights group Amnesty International (AI), which officially abandoned its neutrality on abortion in 2007, has authored a pro-abortion legal memorandum addressed to the Supreme Court of Mexico asking the high court to uphold liberal abortion in Mexico City. The memorandum directly contradicts AI's previous position that 'there is no generally accepted right to abortion in international human rights law.'

AI's memo supports a liberalized first-trimester abortion law passed last year by Mexico City's Legislative Assembly that has been challenged by Mexico's Attorney General. AI cites several treaties signed by Mexico, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, claiming that they require the Court to uphold the legislation.

As AI had previously acknowledged, however, no such right can be found in any of the treaties mentioned in AI's legal brief. Human rights treaties are consensus documents negotiated by governments, many of which outlawed abortion at the time of ratification, and thus are silent on the subject of abortion. To underscore that such treaties would leave their domestic laws unchanged, some countries made explicit formal interpretative statements and reservations at the time of signing protecting the rights of the unborn child.

AI's submission cites no treaty language in support of its argument that a failure to uphold the challenged law would 'result in violations of Mexico's international human rights obligations.' The Amnesty brief does, however, reference a report by a UN treaty monitoring body, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which pressured the Mexican government on abortion in 2006. Such committees are composed of unelected members many of whom are drawn from pro-abortion non-governmental organizations. Such committees take it upon themselves to reinterpret treaties and then try to get governments to agree even though committee pronouncements are non-binding.

AI's new approach apparently mirrors strategy adopted by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which along with the International Commission of Jurists filed a third-party intervention in the Mexico City case. In 2006, CRR had persuaded Colombia's constitutional court to overturn that country's pro-life laws based on the argument that by acceding to various treaties, a sovereign nation must conform its domestic laws to subsequent treaty body interpretations of what constitutes its evolving obligations.

AI was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a Catholic convert, to combat human rights abuses by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. Compared with more secular-oriented human rights counterparts, Amnesty International has historically drawn support from members of various religious denominations. After decades of defending human dignity without compromising the rights of the unborn, its 2007 abortion policy switch alienated a number of its long-time supporters, including Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Bishop Michael Evans - a member of thirty years standing - and activist priest Daniel Berrigan, S.J., all of whom have withdrawn support from AI as a result.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen