The 8th March is the annual International Women’s Day. This is an important day to celebrate a movement that has done an enormous amount of good work over the years to protect women and help women across the globe secure opportunities to achieve their full potential, without discrimination because of their sex.

There is, of course, still much work to be done, which is why many local Amnesty International groups will hold special events this week to celebrate IWD, and some will even link it to the ongoing campaign to stop violence against women. Now, no right thinking person would condone violence against anyone; woman, child or man. But on International Women’s Day we should take a moment to think about the violence that is being inflicted on females in the womb.

The danger with some of the local campaigns is that the rights of women get confused; I have seen a local AI campaign (I stress this is at a local level, not a national level) that is already suggesting that a women should be allowed an abortion as a human right if they have become pregnant after a rape, an emotive and sensitive set of circumstances, but nonetheless AI currently remains neutral on this position and any decision taken by the membership and organization this year should certainly not be preempted.

All too often people who oppose abortions are accused of denying women their rights, in the case of rape anti-abortion campaigners are slated as being uncaring, brutal and accused of taking a choices away from women; it is even claimed that this stance is somehow complicit on the violence that is perpetrated on women. In fact, those against abortion want to ensure that all women receive all their rights, including the most important: that unborn baby girls (and, of course, boys) get their right to life; with that right comes a lifetime of choices: where and how to live, for example. The so-called pro-choice lobby, campaigns for only one choice for women – a choice of whether or not to end the life of another person – a position that is not logical or moral. It is ironic that on the very day pro-abortion campaigners celebrate equal opportunities for all on IWD, they also seek to deny the opportunity of life for thousands of children. Those opposing abortion, defend a women’s right to live and make a lifetime of choices: what could be more “pro-choice”?

It is imperative that AI continues to campaign for human rights for all individuals, regardless of their sex and of their stage in life. Please continue to make representations to your local Amnesty section objecting to any moves that would change the organization’s current position on abortion.

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