Amnesty International (AI) is consulting members worldwide on abandoning its neutral stance on abortion and promoting limited decriminalisation worldwide. The support of AI could have real impact on global opinion and access.
Following wide consultation with its members, and a clear vote at its annual general meeting , Amnesty UK is to be congratulated for taking a leading position, alongside Canada and New Zealand in support of a policy shift. The motion agreed was proposed by the Amnesty UK board and resolves that while consultation with members was continuing, AIUK should support the development of research and action to achieve:
1. Decriminalisation of abortion
2. Access to quality services for the management of complications arising from abortion
3. Legal, safe and accessible abortion in cases of rape, sexual assault, incest, and risk to a woman’s life.
The final decision on Amnesty International’s position will be made at an international meeting in 2007.
70,000 women die across the world every year because of barriers to safe, legal abortion. Countless thousands more are permanently injured.
Notwithstanding this, Amnesty International’s consultation has angered the Catholic Church worldwide, and Amnesty UK’s position has been met with vocal opposition from the Bishops of England and Wales.