Amnesty International has launched a video campaign, calling for the decriminalisation of abortion in Ireland, which has been described by some as anti-Catholic.
The video, uses actor Liam Neeson’s voice who refers to a “cruel ghost” which “haunts” Ireland and brings “suffering and even death to the women whose live it touches” as the camera pans across a deserted church.
Neeson says the ghost is “feared by politicians, this is the ghost of paper and ink. A spirit that lives in a constitution written for a different time. It is the shadow of a country we hoped we’d left behind. Ireland doesn’t have to be chained to its past. It’s time to lay this ghost to rest.”
The video concludes with Neeson saying “repeal the Eight” which refers to the Eight Amendment of the Irish Constitution which protects the life of the unborn child.
Lord Alton told the Catholic Herald that Amnesty wasn’t established to “take away the protection of the right to life of an unborn child.”
He said: “Amnesty’s campaign is simply disingenuous. Their publicity makes it seem as if they want abortions solely where the baby is going to die. If you dig deeper you discover that they want to ‘Repeal Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution to remove the protection of the right to life of the foetus’. These are their words, not mine.
“Since I was a student I have campaigned with Amnesty on countless issues and have huge respect for many of the people who have worked for them. As recently as last week we met to discuss the plight of Burmese political prisoners. Their mission statement – crafted by Peter Benenson – their founder and a Catholic – was to speak up for the voiceless and to seek protection for those who are being persecuted, tortured, or whose lives are at risk because of unjust laws and totalitarian regimes. But Amnesty wasn’t set up to take away the protection of the right to life of an unborn child.
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights insists that ‘Everyone has the right to life’. If the eight million dead British children had votes and voices – and whose lives we have failed to protect – Amnesty would undoubtedly be running campaigns on their behalf. I wonder what Peter Benenson would have had to say about this campaign? He’d probably be asking them to remove him name from the building, Benenson House, which houses Amnesty’s headquarters.”
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Tim Stanley, who is a Catholic Herald contributing editor, said: “This doesn’t look like a campaign against Ireland’s abortion laws. It looks like a campaign to exorcise the Catholic Church from Ireland. Which is highly ironic because the liberals behind it are exactly the kind of people who always insist that religion should be kept out of politics. On this occasion, however, they’re very happy to play the faith card.”