Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Amnesty International's Double Talk

The thing is, they don’t want to have to deny it, because they don’t want you to find out about it; at least not yet. I recently visited the Amnesty International USA website and did some digging around. On the homepage accessible to the general public, I found nothing about the changes to their abortion advocacy. So I logged in to the members-only, restricted-content page. After a little searching, I found what I was looking for.


So, how did that letter begin? Schneider started with this: “Amnesty International’s International Executive Committee (IEC) has adopted a new position on Sexual and Reproductive Rights that includes support for abortion in very particular circumstances, in the context of our work to stop grave human rights abuses against women and girls.”

The new policy has three basic goals: (1) provide access to abortion in what they claim will only be “particular circumstances,” (2) ensure that women have access to medical care after botched—whether legal or illegal—abortions, and (3) eliminate all penalties against women seeking abortions and against abortion providers.

The various supporting documents all stress the legitimate concerns of female health and liberty and the good work Amnesty International has done in the past on these issues—but then argue for what will amount to an unlimited right to abortion.

Of course, AI adamantly denies this. Consider the fourth frequently asked question: “Does AI promote ‘abortion as human right’?” Their response: “No. Some media reports and individuals have claimed that AI promotes a ‘human right to abortion.’ This grossly misrepresents AI’s policy on sexual and reproductive rights. AI takes no position on whether abortion is right or wrong, nor on whether or not abortion should be legal.” (Of course, no media reports, until now, have claimed this—AI just anticipated, correctly, that some would.)

The phrase: “AI takes no position on whether abortion is right or wrong, nor on whether or not abortion should be legal” is repeated over and over throughout the AI documents. But it’s not true.


In fact, read further on in the FAQ and you see that Amnesty International disagrees with the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion. “AI therefore opposes the provision of the federal law upheld by the Court in Carhart that imposes fines and up to two years in prison for doctors who perform particular types of abortions.” According to the new Amnesty International position on abortion rights, a state can’t even prohibit the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion.


Visit Opinions Canada
a political blogs aggregator