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International Law v. United States

- Abstract

On the American legal landscape, where all roads lead to Roe v. Wade, the death last summer of Chief Justice William Rehnquist gave rise to a fever of handicapping. Whom would the President nominate for the new vacancy on the Supreme Court, and what would be the impact on our decades-long debate over abortion? Going forward, who would dictate the momentous outcome of this debate: judges, or the people themselves through their elected representatives?

Elsewhere, though, a very different discussion was under way. In Mexico, Amnesty International, the world’s most prominent nongovernmental organization (NGO) devoted to human rights, was holding a meeting of its international council. Among the principal items on the agenda was Amnesty’s long-held concern that “there is no generally accepted right to abortion in international human-rights law.” That being the case, the organization is considering a radical new proposal: the declaration of a fundamental human right to abortion (cast euphemistically as “reproductive freedom”). If the change takes hold, countries denying or interfering with access to abortion would be branded international rogues.

About the Author

Andrew C. McCarthy directs the center for law and counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. In somewhat different form, this article will appear in his book, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, soon to be released by Encounter Books. Copyright 2008 by Andrew C. McCarthy.