‘Abortion Rights Is an Evil Agenda’

‘Abortion Rights Is an Evil Agenda’

VATICAN CITY — In a June 1 e-mail interview with the Register, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, forcefully denounced Amnesty International’s decision to promote abortion rights.

Here is the complete text of Cardinal Martino’s remarks to the Register.

Your Eminence, what is your reaction to the recent decision by Amnesty International (AI) to promote abortion?

Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed with AI’s recent decision to promote abortion rights. I have always had great esteem for Amnesty International because when Peter Benenson founded the organization in 1961, the mission of AI was clear — to witness to the inalienable rights of all human beings.

As a result of the recent decision of AI to support abortion rights worldwide, however, I believe Amnesty International has betrayed its mission to promote and protect human rights. By pushing for the decriminalization of abortion as part of their platform, Amnesty International has disqualified itself as a defender of human rights.

If AI is no longer willing to stand up for the most basic human right — the right to life — then the very integrity of the organization is called into question.

Amnesty International says it is necessary to allow women access to abortion in cases when they are victims of rape, as well as in cases where pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s life or health. What is your response to that argument?

The Church teaches that it is never justifiable to kill an innocent human life. Abortion is murder. To selectively justify abortion, even in the cases of rape, is to define the innocent child within the womb as an enemy, a “thing” that must be destroyed. How can we say that killing a child in some cases is “good” and in other cases it is evil?

Such a distinction is incomprehensible for people of good will; and it is incompatible to the mission of Amnesty International, and, for that matter, to the common good of the human family.

Although there is no “internationally recognized human right” to abortion, many international non-governmental organizations, and now apparently Amnesty International, seek to promote such a right. In your view, and in light of your long experience as the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, why is this such a persistent question?

Thanks be to God there is not an “internationally recognized right” to abortion. I was head of the Holy See delegation to the Cairo Conference on Population and Development when that issue was settled definitively. Paragraph 8.25 of the Cairo Declaration clearly states, “In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning … and every attempt should be made to eliminate the need for abortion…”

The fact that pro-abortion lobbyists continue to promote the right to abortion is a phenomenon associated with what the Servant of God called “the culture of death.” We cannot be naïve in our reflection on this issue. The pro-death agenda that promotes abortion rights is an evil agenda. It is cloaked in human rights language, but in reality it undermines the very human rights it portends to support. Its logical conclusion is the destruction of life and all of the life-giving values that we as a human family and as a society should be grateful for.

De-sensitizing the culture to the evil of abortion is part and parcel of the pro-abortion lobby. It is hard to believe that Amnesty International has acquiesced to the pressures of this lobby.

What can Catholics in the United States, and in other countries, do to counteract such attitudes within the culture and promote instead a renewed respect for the rights of the unborn?

First of all, Catholics and all people of good will throughout the world ought to renew their understanding of the Gospel of Life.

The Catholic community in particular must recall the guiding principles that give to the eyes of faith the courage and conviction to witness in word and in deed to all that is true and good, beginning with the dignity of the human person. A rediscovery of the social doctrine of the Church and its wisdom is needed to invigorate the faith of people in an age that has seen rapid changes in the ways of life.

Likewise, an authentic appreciation for the common good and its relationship to true human fulfillment is necessary to put the question of abortion in its proper perspective. Notwithstanding the objective evil of abortion, it simply is not compatible with the common good of humanity to kill unborn children, or to make it easier to do so by promoting the right to abortion.

Should individual Catholics and Catholic organizations withdraw their financial support from Amnesty International because of its decision to promote abortion rights?

The very promotion of abortion opens the door to the slippery slope of evil and death, where human rights are taken away from the most innocent and vulnerable children of God. I believe 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, AI has betrayed its mission. It has betrayed all of its faithful supporters throughout the years, both individuals and organizations, who have trusted AI for its integral mission of promoting and protecting human rights.