If the scandal of Amnesty International ignoring the most basic rights to unborn children wasn’t bad enough, the powers that be at AI have caused further outrage by attempting to cover up their decision – even trying to keep it from their staff.

As late as Tuesday afternoon, workers at Amnesty International UK’s headquarters claimed that they believed a decision on the abortion policy had not been taken and would not be taken until later this summer, and indeed were reassuring members of this, apparently blissfully unaware that Amnesty was in fact trying to cover up the fact that it had already made its decision.

So their gas was put at the proverbial peep when it was pointed out to the benighted AIUK employees that documents on Amnesty International USA’s site, uncovered by Consistent Life, completely contradicted what they were saying (see previous post) and these documents made them look, at the very best, sadly uninformed.

So the AIUK staff went off to find out more. At the time of writing this, they still had not managed to give a response to the member in question – that’s almost 48 hours later, but we can assume that there has been some frantic activity, in fact there have been quite a few hits on this blog and its mirror sites from Amnesty International IP addresses over the last 24 hours (perhaps AIUK staff are trying to find out what their bosses have apparently been keeping from them).

Of course, AI didn’t want to tell its members the unpalatable news until it had worked out how it was going to spin it to members who had vigorously opposed the proposals so it was quite useful to keep their staff in the dark so that they could answer in all honesty that the matter was still to be decided if they had to deal with troublesome member or press enquiries.

At the same time AIUK were preparing their response to this embarrassing incident, Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law, Policy and Campaigns at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat – and a former advocate on the women’s rights program of Human Rights Watch (which also happens to have adopted a policy on abortion) – was forced into giving an interview to Reuters press agency, apparently confirming the decision that Amnesty was supporting abortions.

Reuters reports that she told its interviewer “that Amnesty also viewed abortion as a right for women whose health was threatened by a pregnancy and that the group would call for the procedure to be decriminalized globally. She said the board of the London-based group agreed the policy last month after two-years of consultations — with experts and the group’s more than 2.2 million members — that has spurred much discussion on anti-abortion blogs.”