Amnesty International’s New Policy Supporting Abortion

Amnesty International has recently released its new policy supporting abortion. While they stop short of taking a(n) (obvious) stance on abortion-on-demand, one of the main points of the new policy involves “ensuring that any woman, who has become pregnant as a result of sexual violence, including incest, has access to safe and legal abortion services.”

Now, let’s be clear – sexual violence is a horrible crime. But it has no affect whatsoever on the answer to the fundamental question at the centre of the issue of abortion – “what is the unborn?” If the unborn is not human, then there is no real moral or ethical objection to abortion, whether sexual violence is the cause of pregnancy or not. But if the unborn is human, then nothing can justify purposely ending the life of an innocent human being, not even sexual violence.

However, the most troubling part of the policy is that they are still trying to pretend that their position is neutral! It’s one thing for an organization to take a pro-choice position, but they could at least admit to doing so!

Amnesty International does not take a position on whether abortion should be legal or whether it is right or wrong. Amnesty does not counsel individuals as to whether they should continue or terminate a pregnancy, nor will Amnesty campaign generally for abortion.

How is that even possible? If their policy is to “ensure” abortion services are available in cases of rape and incest, how could they possibly consider abortion to be wrong? If they’ve honestly left open the possibility that abortion is wrong, then they’ve also left open the possibility that they, as a human rights organization, are “ensuring” that it be legal to commit that wrong. Clearly, they don’t believe that their organization stands for something wrong.

Why can’t they at least be honest?

They dodge the question of “what is the unborn?” with comments like, “AI takes no position as to when life begins.” How is that even possible? Surely, there must be some point at which they believe human rights are owed? Do they oppose infanticide? Well, then they must have some idea of when life begins! It’s kind of hard not to, being a human rights organization and all, writing a policy on abortion. But, apparently, it’s hard to admit it.

Not only do they pretend not to take a stance, but they try to take cheap shots at the pro-life movement.

Some people believe that life begins at conception and therefore, abortion represents a violation of the right of life of a fetus. Such views are sometimes grounded in particular religious beliefs.

How can they try to pretend to be neutral with statements like that? The second sentence is completely unnecessary. It is an empty rhetorical attempt to try and draw attention to religious arguments while making no mention whatsoever of the overwhelming scientific evidence upon which most pro-life organizations form the basis of their arguments.

Amnesty International takes a stance in defence of abortion by looking at the hard cases and avoiding the fundamental issue at hand. There are countless examples. Here’s one of the most extreme:

In Nigeria, a woman who actually had a miscarriage was accused of aborting the fetus and threatened with the death penalty.

That is an extreme case and a terribly unjust situation. But what is the main problem? The death penalty. Extreme and unjust punishment can be countered without defending the act of abortion. Nevermind that this appears to be an isolated incident – a grave violation of human rights, nonetheless, but a poor candidate upon which to base a worldwide policy.

In short, it is quite clear from Amnesty International’s new policy on abortion that their view of human rights does not and cannot extend to the unborn, yet they pretend they are not taking a moral stance on the matter. Not only is their stance in violation of the rights of the unborn, but their inability to own up to it is flat out cowardly.

All of the quotes used in this post were from these documents:

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