The National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW), a consultative body to the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales issued a statement supporting the response of Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia Diocese to the changes made by Amnesty International to its policy on abortion. Dr Rosemary Keenan, Convenor of the Board's Marriage and Family Life Committee states, "The Bishop is right to point out why he believes membership and financial support of Amnesty International by Catholics is no longer appropriate. Many Catholic women who support Amnesty International will have to make a similar discernment." She continued, "Bishops Evans' position is in keeping with the UN Declaration and Convention on the Rights of the Child; specifically that, 'the child, by reason of his or her physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth'. As abortion brings about the death of a child before birth, it clearly violates the right of a child to life. What then of the mother and any rights she might claim? The position in relation to children's rights versus adult rights should be clear and is arguably covered by the paramountcy principle which states that: "the welfare of the child is paramount" and this is enshrined in International, European and UK legislative frameworks, hence the Children Act 1989." The NBCW welcomed Bishop Evans condemnation of violence against women and his comment that the Catholic Church does not want women who have been through an abortion to be punished as they need compassion and healing. Rosemary Keenan added "the NBCW knows some of the painful struggles and hardships that women go through because of domestic and other forms of violence; often within their own homes. The hierarchy and clergy need to speak out in our churches against the culture of violence towards women. Not to do so, is to collude with it. The scope of the challenge to the Catholic Church and the people within our parish congregations, both in the UK and around the world, also includes how we provide appropriate support to mothers who keep their children beyond birth and through into adulthood."
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