A few days ago, Colm O’Gorman, the Executive Director of the Irish branch of Amnesty International, blocked me on Twitter. Despite the fact that I have only ever tweeted him in a professional capacity (as a fellow spokesperson on the issue of abortion), and never in a rude or abusive manner, it’s his right to block whoever he wants and I respect that.
Before taking leave of the debate, he did suggest that future questions that I have should be sent directly to Amnesty Ireland. And so, in keeping with his wishes, here are my questions:
• Why does Amnesty support abortion for babies with “severe foetal impairment” or “fatal foetal impairment”? These terms refer to seriously ill or terminally ill babies. Why does Amnesty believe that ill babies don’t deserve the same protection as babies who don’t have health problems?
• When carrying out its research, why didn’t Amnesty engage with women and girls who had testimonies of real relevance to the debate – those, like Bernadette Goulding, who regret their abortions and run abortion recovery groups like Women Hurt; those, like Melissa Ohden, who survived abortions and who are only alive because medics took pity on them instead of leaving them in a corner to die; those, like the families in One Day More and Every Life Counts who continued with their pregnancy following a diagnosis of life-limiting condition, and who made precious memories with their baby as a result? Don’t their experiences matter to Amnesty and if not, why not?
• Why has Amnesty never addressed the central problem with its campaign to introduce abortion – the fact that it is pushing for the introduction of a procedure that ends human lives and which allows one group of human beings to decide that another group doesn’t have the right to be alive?
• Why does Amnesty downplay or ignore the fact that the Preamble to the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”? Since when did Amnesty use legal loopholes to allow the ending of human lives to continue?
• Why doesn’t Amnesty simply accept the fact that its current vision is one that creates two separate classes of human beings? Instead of working to protect all human beings throughout the world, the organisation now works to exclude legal protection from unborn children based on the decision of somebody else. No amount of spin or quoting international human rights treaties can change the fact that Amnesty no longer protects every human life and this is a source of great sadness and upset for many of its former members.
• In short, when will Amnesty start doing what it once did so well – act as a genuine watchdog for every human being, born or unborn, whose life is in danger?
Amnesty was once a great human rights defender. It still does great work in many areas. But when it comes to abortion, Amnesty ignores an entire group of humans, and they are the most vulnerable, voiceless among us.
Until Amnesty rectifies its approach to the unborn whose lives are in such peril, it cannot claim the title of “human rights organisation”. Its spokespeople can ignore this reality but they cannot change the truth – the world needs Amnesty to act as a genuine watchdog for every human being, born and unborn, not just those who are deemed acceptable on arbitrary grounds.