Rights of Women

San Francisco Chronicle - Letter to the Editor |

Editor--The July 25th article, " Groups plan attack on Amnesty proposal," underscores the increasing threats to women's rights posed by conservative religious groups.

Illegal abortions are an enormous public-health risk. Restrictive abortion laws have a devastating impact on women's health. Each year, approximately 19 million women and girls risk unsafe abortions. An estimated 70,000 of these women and girls die--accounting for nearly 13 percent of the maternal-mortality rate worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of others are left with debilitating injuries.

Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, where the right to a safe abortion is legally restriced in most countries, unsafe abortions claim the lives of thousands of women annually.

The fierce opposition to Amnesty International's preliminary discussions on the right to abortion in the case of rape or life-threatening pregnancy complications disregards a woman's basic human right to make independent, informed choices about health and well-being.

Amnesty International is in no way "drifting away from its principles of unbiased advocacy," but rather is engaging in much needed dialogue about the rights of women.

Carmen Barroso
Regional Director
International Planned Parenthood Federation/
Western Hemisphere Region
New York

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