LONDON (AFP) - A senior Roman Catholic bishop has resigned from Amnesty International because of the human rights group's new policy on abortion, his office confirmed Tuesday.
An aide to the Bishop of East Anglia in eastern England, the Right Reverend Michael Evans, said the cleric was ending his long-standing membership in protest at support for abortion facilities in developing countries.
Evans was quoted as saying by The Times newspaper that many Catholics would find it difficult to support an organisation that backed "violence" against unborn children, whatever the circumstances.
"Very regretfully, I will be ending my 31-year membership of Amnesty International, which included several years on the British section council and its religious bodies liaison panel in the 1980s," he said.
"Among all human rights, the right to life is fundamental and this decision will almost certainly divide Amnesty's membership and thereby undermine its vital work."
But he said that although the church supported Amnesty's opposition to violence against women, that "must not be answered by violence against the most vulnerable and defenceless form of human life in a woman's womb".
"There is no human right to access to abortion and Amnesty should not involve itself in such extreme cases," the 56-year-old bishop said.
The Vatican on June 13 called for Catholics -- one of whose central tenets is the sanctity of all human life -- to reconsider their support for Amnesty, accusing it of promoting abortion.
But Amnesty countered, saying they were not advocating abortion as a right but defending the right of women to be free from "threat, force or coercion as they exercise their sexual and reproductive rights".
Amnesty spokesman Philippe Hensmans said of Evans's resignation: "It's really sad that somebody who's been a militant for so many years is leaving Amnesty.
"The (policy) decision has been taken by the whole movement after a two-year debate in all sections in the world among members, believers and non-believers."
There had been "a few" resignations since the new policy was adopted but "no big tide" of people leaving the organisation, he told AFP.
Bravo Bishop, stick it to the Feminazi scum!