These are extraordinary times and we need you now more than ever.” So starts the blurb on Amnesty International USA’s member recruitment website. And I agree wholeheartedly with this statement, times are indeed extraordinary when an organization that purports to be an advocate and defender of human rights proposes to actively remove the rights of unborn children.

I am still an active member of Amnesty International and I will continue to be one unless and until the organization adopts the policy that will advocate abortion as a human right. There are many people in the same situation which is why AI sectors worldwide are preparing for an exodus of members, hence more intensified recruitment drives. AIUSA is already seeing the need to attract more members and in an online recruitment campaign tagged “Believe. And be counted.”(sic) the organization says it wants to attract 75 new members every day in April.

AIUSA’s recruitment literature continues:
“We can’t restore the basic American rights that have been so seriously eroded over the
past six years without you.
You can play an important role in Amnesty International’s work to reverse the disas
trous course of human rights pursued by the Bush Administration. Renew your membership or join Amnesty for the first time and declare your commitment to the America you believe in.”

(I have serious misgivings about this type of attack as a way to recruit members: AI’s members come from a wide political spectrum…however this is not a point that I’m going to go into here). I am no particular fan of the Bush Administration, and have voiced my condemnation of many of the things it has done. However when I read AIUSA’s recruitment blurb and consider Amnesty International’s own proposals to advocate abortion as a human right the words “pot”, “kettle” and “black” spring to mind. Should it be implemented, AI’s proposals would be no less disastrous for the course of human rights than anything the Bush Administration has done; and as far as I am aware even the Bush Administration has not been as hypocritical to call itself a human rights organization.

I would respectfully suggest to Amnesty International USA that if it genuinely wants to restore human rights it first does so by campaigning to stop all attempts by AI sectors to deny the most basic of human rights – the right of life – to unborn children. Once it does so it may find that it is able to retain the membership of many of its long-term supporters.

Pat Oliphant’s famous cartoon.

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