Amnesty International, which formally announced two weeks ago a new worldwide policy backing women’s right to abortion in some cases, is being charged with having “duped” pro-life pop stars who contributed their time and talents to a CD released to raise money by the anti-torture group for victims of violence in Darfur.
“The human suffering going on right now in Darfur is horrific,” said Erik Whittington, American Life League’s youth outreach director and director of Rock for Life, an organization of anti-abortion musicians.
“To add insult to injury, however, using this tragic abuse of human rights to raise money for a pro-abortion organization is hypocritical and beyond belief,” he said.
Two of the performers on the CD, Christina Aguilera and Avril Lavigne, have made past statements against abortion, reported the London Sunday Times.
Amnesty’s announcement that abortion in cases of rape – a crime too frequent in parts of the world where Amnesty has taken an interest – is a human right came less than two months after release of “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.” Contributing musicians include U2, Green Day, Aguilera, Lavigne and others performing covers of John Lennon tunes.
“The manipulation of musicians to fund this hypocrisy is maddening,” Whittington told the Times. “We are writing to all the artists to ask for their views. We know bands like Green Day are against us because we have had stalls at festivals where the band has burned our literature on stage. Others, like U2, are more neutral.”
“We don’t know the personal opinion of the artists on abortion but the CD has been launched to raise awareness of the situation in Darfur,” said an Amnesty spokesman.
Aguilera, who is expecting her first baby, is a Catholic, however, Whittington noted, she was a celebrity coalition member in support of the March for Women’s Lives, a 2004 pro-abortion rally in Washington, D.C. Lavigne, the Times reported, comes from a French-Canadian comes from a Christian family.
An aide to Lavigne said, “I don’t think she would want to comment on this. But what has abortion to do with Amnesty? It’s for a lot of different things such as prisoners of conscience and human rights.”
Amnesty, not unexpectedly, is also under fire from the Catholic Church.
Last week Michael Evans, the Catholic bishop of East Anglia, resigned from Amnesty after 31 years as an activist saying it had been “deeply compromised.”
“Our proper indignation regarding pervasive violence against women should not cloud our judgment about our duty to protect the most vulnerable and defenseless form of human life,” said Evans. “Among all human rights, the right to life is fundamental.”
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, second only to Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican hierarchy, condemned the new policy, saying, “Men and women of the church have already made their stark opposition to this decision clear. Violence cannot be answered by further violence, murder with murder, for even if the child is unborn it is still a human person. It has a right to dignity as a human being.”
Amnesty, this week, issued a response to Bertone, saying the organization “stands by its policy … to support the decriminalization of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion and to defend women’s access to abortion – within reasonable gestational limits – when their health or life are in danger.”
Vladimir Bukovsky, who spent nearly 12 years as a political detainee in the Soviet Union and who was adopted by Amnesty in the 1970s as a prisoner of conscience after he was committed to a psychiatric institution, is bewildered by the organization’s new position.
“Why are they making policy about abortion? They should stick to working for human rights abuses. This is being driven by political correctness,” he told the Times.
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