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CNN’s Amanpour says US could lose credibility with Taliban after SCOTUS abortion decision

Taliban fighters. (Department of Defense photo by Lt. j. g. Joe Painter)
July 01, 2022

CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour said this week that the U.S. could lose credibility with the Taliban in terms of promoting women’s rights in Afghanistan after last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protected access to abortions.

During the segment on Thursday, Amanpour told fellow CNN hosts Jim Sciutto and Clarissa Ward that if Ukraine loses the war against Russia despite U.S. support, “our entire way of life, our entire set of values, our entire adherence to the international rules-based order and our ability to confront other challenges like China is really compromised on a massive, massive scale.” She then went on to say last week’s Supreme Court decision on abortion rights could also undermine U.S. credibility around the world and in particular with the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which is known for its repression of women’s rights.

“I would also say, as a conclusion, American democracy and the state of Americans’ women’s rights are being really looked at, not just by the rest of the west . . . but by the rest of the world,” Amanpour said. “Do you think the Taliban are going to actually say, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re going to adhere to what you tell us for recognition based on what, you know, on what we do about women?’” 

“This is really serious, this moment” Amanpour added. “For American women and for America’s ability to hold its head up as a democracy that respects the rights of every constituent.”

Last week’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization upheld Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Supreme Court decision also overturned its previous decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, with the majority of the court writing, “Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

According to a Human Rights Watch report from January, even before the Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs case, the Taliban government in Afghanistan has put up barriers to women and girls accessing education and employment.

CNN’s Jim Sciutto responded to Amanpour’s comments about the Taliban and U.S. women’s rights by saying, “so crucial to U.S. soft power around the world, right, the protection of rights at home, how the system works at home.

Earlier in the same segment — which was shared on CNN’s website — Amanpour said she had spoken with several world leaders who have expressed their concerns about the Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs case.

“May I just make the point as well, because the president addressed it and you’ve all been talking about it and American women are very concerned about it,” Amanpour said. “I have spoken to three world leaders in this past week, all of whom have expressed a deep, deep sadness and concern and worry for the state of American women’s rights,” for Roe being overturned.

Amanpour said the world leaders she spoke to on the ramifications of the Supreme Court decision include the prime minister of Sweden — whom she described as “a woman in a country with a feminist foreign policy” — the prime minister of Spain and leaders at NATO and G-7 meetings.

“And let us just not forget that I’ve covered repressive regimes who have set back women’s rights throughout my career,” Amanpour added. “Never in the history of women’s rights in America have we seen such a reversal in a developed country. It just hasn’t happened. And the rest of the world is watching this very, very closely as America talks about, you know, shoring up democracy abroad, it really has to happen at home as well, particularly for women’s rights.”