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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Vatican urges end to Amnesty aid
foetus
The Vatican described abortion as "murder"
The Vatican has urged all Catholics to stop donating money to Amnesty International, accusing the human rights group of promoting abortion.

The Vatican, which regards life as sacred from the moment of conception, said it was an "inevitable consequence" of the group's policy change.

Amnesty said it was not promoting abortion as a universal right.

But the group said that women had a right to choose, particularly in cases of rape or incest.

"No more financing of Amnesty International after the organisation's pro-abortion about-turn," said a statement from the Roman Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The Church's request covers funding from Catholic groups, non-governmental organisations, parishes, schools and individuals.

'Misrepresented account'

The council's president, Cardinal Renato Martino, described abortion as "murder".

"And to justify it selectively, in the event of rape, that is to define an innocent child in the belly of its mother as an enemy, as 'something one can destroy'," the cardinal said.

According to Roman Catholic doctrine, life - which begins with conception - must be respected.

Amnesty says it does not take any position on whether abortion is right or wrong.

But it defended its new position in support of abortion for women when their health is in danger or human rights are violated, especially in cases of rape or incest.

"We are saying broadly that to criminalise women's management of their sexual reproductive right is the wrong answer," Amnesty's deputy Secretary General Kate Gilmore told Reuters news agency.

"The Catholic Church, through a misrepresented account of our position on selective aspects of abortion, is placing in peril work on human rights," Ms Gilmore said.

Some 45 million unintended pregnancies are terminated around the world every year, the World Health Organisation says.

Nearly 70,000 women die annually from unsafe abortions, it says.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Amnesty denies receiving funds from the Vatican



SEE ALSO
Pope presses Brazil on abortion
10 May 07 |  Americas
Factfile: Roman Catholics around the world
01 Apr 05 |  Special Reports

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