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Betraying the Little Ones September 24, 2007

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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More Catholics are parting ways with human rights group Amnesty International because of its new policy on abortion. Amnesty International abandoned its neutral stance, and is now committed to promoting access to abortion in some cases. In response, just last week, Catholic school groups in Scotland were thinking about withdrawing their support for Amnesty International, joining others who have done the same — many of whom have been loyal supporters for years.

This is not surprising. Amnesty International is supposed to defend human rights — everyone’s rights. Well, unborn children have rights too, and the most essential right is the right to life. Without it, other rights cannot be enjoyed. The fact that Amnesty International has betrayed its commitment to defending the rights of the most defenseless persons in the world (the unborn) should cause Catholics — indeed everyone — to pause and examine where our loyalties lie and to whom we give our support. We ought to examine those groups with which we are affiliated and make sure we are not unwittingly compromising our faith and principles.

Sadly, there are those who would pretend that unborn children are not human beings. To answer that notion quickly, let me quote Peter Kreeft, a philosopher who presents a convincing, purely logical argument for believing that the unborn are human beings. This is taken from the article, “The Apple Argument Against Abortion“:

So, there are four possibilities:

  • The fetus is a person, and we know that;
  • The fetus is a person, but we don’t know that;
  • The fetus isn’t a person, but we don’t know that;
  • The fetus isn’t a person, and we know that.

What is abortion in each of these four cases?

In Case 1, where the fetus is a person and you know that, abortion is murder. First-degree murder, in fact. You deliberately kill an innocent human being.

In Case 2, where the fetus is a person and you don’t know that, abortion is manslaughter. It’s like driving over a man-shaped overcoat in the street at night or shooting toxic chemicals into a building that you’re not sure is fully evacuated. You’re not sure there is a person there, but you’re not sure there isn’t either, and it just so happens that there is a person there, and you kill him. You cannot plead ignorance. True, you didn’t know there was a person there, but you didn’t know there wasn’t either, so your act was literally the height of irresponsibility. This is the act Roe [“Roe vs. Wade”, the U.S. Supreme Court case which legalized abortion throughout the U.S. — Manny] allowed.

In Case 3, the fetus isn’t a person, but you don’t know that. So abortion is just as irresponsible as it is in the previous case. You ran over the overcoat or fumigated the building without knowing that there were no persons there. You were lucky; there weren’t. But you didn’t care; you didn’t take care; you were just as irresponsible. You cannot legally be charged with manslaughter, since no man was slaughtered, but you can and should be charged with criminal negligence.

Only in Case 4 is abortion a reasonable, permissible, and responsible choice. But note: What makes Case 4 permissible is not merely the fact that the fetus is not a person but also your knowledge that it is not, your overcoming of skepticism. So skepticism counts not for abortion but against it. Only if you are not a skeptic, only if you are a dogmatist, only if you are certain that there is no person in the fetus, no man in the coat, or no person in the building, may you abort, drive, or fumigate.

This undercuts even our weakest, least honest escape: to pretend that we don’t even know what an apple is, just so we have an excuse for pleading that we don’t know what an abortion is.

It is clear, therefore, that Amnesty International has betrayed its calling, and with it, the weakest of the weak.

The reaction from Catholics to this treachery is growing. Here is a sampling of related articles from ZENIT, a Catholic, non-profit international news agency, detailing how Catholics have dealt with Amnesty International’s decision:

As Christians we are called to be responsible. It’s time we all take a long, honest, and objective look at our commitments and advocacies. Some “humanitarian” groups may not be as upstanding as we think they are.

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Comments»

1. waltzingaustralia - November 13, 2007

It’s not really any surprise, is it. Amnesty International has always pretty much ignored situations important to Christians, such as the murder of large Christian populations. If one is concerned about human rights, support Open Doors With Brother Andrew or Voice of the Martyrs. Because killing babies is bad, but so is killing adults, especially if your only reason for killing them is that they’re Christians.

So I sincerely hope people leave AI behind and throw their weight behnd the groups who are really concerned with life — all life.


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