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Amnesty donations at mercy of Catholic Church

Amnesty donations at mercy of Catholic Church
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Amnesty donations at mercy of Catholic Church

Fundraising | 1 Jul 2007

Amnesty International is currently bracing itself for backlash from its supporters following a statement from the Vatican that urged Catholics to stop donating to the human rights organisation because of its stance on abortion.

Amnesty International recently introduced a policy that supports the decriminalisation of abortion and defends women's access to abortion when health or human rights are in danger.

Cardinal Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, claims this policy promotes abortion rights, contradicting Roman Catholic doctrine, which states that life begins at conception, and as such there should be no more financing of the organisation.

However, Amnesty International has defended its stance. Kate Gilmore, executive deputy secretary general, said: "Our position is not for abortion as a right but for women's human rights to be free of fear, threat and coercion as they manage all consequences of rape and other grave human rights violations."

"We have not accepted funds from the Vatican and do not accept funds from any other state in support of our work against human rights violations. Millions of people around the world of many faiths and creeds donate to Amnesty International as individuals. Among them are welcome donations from members of the Catholic faith," she added.

The organisation is now monitoring the impact this announcement may have on its ability to fundraise. So far it has received a mixed reaction.

"At the moment the number of positive responses outweigh the negative," said a spokeswoman for Amnesty International, who explained that negative responses were when people considered cancelling membership, while positive responses referred to people joining as members and making or upgrading their donations.

"We will continue to track and monitor this over the forthcoming months," she added.

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