By John-Henry Westen

Amnesty International’s proposal to include abortion as one of the human rights for which the noted organization campaigns would for the first time pit the organization against human rights – the rights of unborn children to life.

The child in the womb, with fingers and toes, nose and mouth, who hears and feels pain is every bit as human as you and I, and as deserving of human rights. In Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, the Jewish character Shylock pleas for his personhood saying, “If you prick us do we not bleed?” Indeed, as most have seen in the bloody pictures of abortion, those unborn children do bleed.

If Amnesty includes abortion as a ‘sexual right’ as they’ve proposed and asks governments to ‘punish’ those who would impede those so-called ‘rights’ then Amnesty would find itself working to shut down the pro-life movement, and all persons who believe in the right to life for the unborn.Â

Amnesty should get with the human rights movement of the 21st century, and take a look at rights for the unborn. Around the world people are waking up to the need to protect the right to life of unborn children. Even in Canada, where abortion is legally performed at taxpayers expense up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy, a majority of Canadians favour at least some legal protection for unborn children.Â

Amnesty would also be hurting its own base by advocating for abortion. Many churches which support Amnesty in its laudable goals would balk at Amnesty’s proposed new direction. Although it is not commonly known, many of us in the pro-life movement are here specifically because we are human rights activists.

I once had the opportunity to explain that to a ‘pro-choice’ activist face to face. At a pro-life conference I attended a couple of years ago, a group of protesters were marching in front of the hotel where we were gathered. I went out to speak with the protesters to hear their concerns. The first few I tried to chat with refused saying, “I don’t speak with ***”. However, the organizer, a young woman in her late teens or early twenties, agreed to talk.

A little group appeared, and a cameraman from the group of protesters was on hand to film the exchange.“How dare you, as a man,” she began, “tell me what I can do with my body.” She continued on the same course for about a minute. After politely allowing her a full explanation of her position, I offered my own.

I said something like, “As a person of colour, I’ve fought discrimination all my life. As an adult I continue to fight discrimination not only against myself but also discrimination directed against those who are unable to defend themselves. Just as I fight discrimination based on race, I fight unjust discrimination based on age, size and dependency.

“Everyone recalls from bio class that when the sperm and egg meet a new life is formed. In the case of human sperm and egg, that new life is a human being, like you and me.

“Yes she is very small, yes she is very young, yes she is very dependent, however that embryonic child is deserving of basic human rights like you and me. I don’t tolerate unjust discrimination based on age, size and dependency, thus I don’t tolerate the intentional ending of the lives of unborn children.

“Sticking up for those discriminated against in a culture where discrimination is prominent can make you unpopular. But that didn’t stop me from sticking up for people of colour like myself and that won’t stop me from defending unborn children.”