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Bishops: Amnesty International Losing Identity. Urge Restoring Neutral Position on Abortion
WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 3, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops are urging Amnesty International to restore its neutral position on abortion.

Bishop William Skylstad, the president of the U.S. bishops' conference, issued a statement Monday in response to the Amnesty International executive council decision to take a pro-abortion stand.

Bishop Skylstad urged Amnesty International to reverse their "deeply disappointing decision" made in August at the International Council meeting in Mexico.

"The action of the executive council undermines Amnesty's longstanding moral credibility, diverts its mission, divides its own members -- many of whom are Catholic or defend the rights of unborn children -- and jeopardizes Amnesty's support by people in many nations, cultures and religion," explained Bishop Skylstad.

Withdrawing support

Echoing the recent remarks of Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Bishop Skylstad said that "if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, Amnesty InternationaI has betrayed its mission."

"Founded by a Catholic layman, Peter Benenson, Amnesty International has been a beacon of hope to thousands of prisoners of conscience and victims of abuse and torture," wrote the 73-year-old prelate. "In this regard Amnesty InternationaI has been a source of inspiration to millions of supporters, including the many Catholics who are members.

"While the proposed action by Amnesty International may appear to some to support women's freedom or provide a compassionate response to women in difficult situations of pregnancy, abortion injures the health and dignity of women at the same time that it ends the life of the unborn child."

The bishop affirmed: "A far more compassionate response is to provide support and services for pregnant women, advance their educational and economic standing in society, and resist all forms of violence and stigmatization against them.

"The Catholic Church provides these services to many women around the world and commits itself to continuing to do so."

"Much more urgent work remains," Bishop Skylstad added, "work which we believe will be harmed by this unprecedented and unnecessary involvement in the abortion debate."