Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international anchor, suggested that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization might undermine the United States’ efforts to moderate the Taliban’s treatment of women in Afghanistan on-air on Thursday.
“American democracy and the state of Americans’ women’s rights are being really looked at… 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?’” asked Amanpour rhetorically.
“So crucial to U.S. soft power around the world,” agreed one of Amanpour’s interlocutors.
CNN’s @amanpour: “The state of American women’s rights are being really looked at … by the rest of the world. You think the Taliban are going to 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?’” pic.twitter.com/Op25hjt6YN
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 30, 2022
Amanpour and her colleagues seemed to imply that the Taliban might be more open to American entreaties for improved conditions in their country if the Supreme Court continued to read a right to abortion into the Constitution.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Taliban have restricted most women’s rights to work and freedom to travel within the country, and forced women to wear full-body coverings in public spaces. Women’s rights activists in the country have endured forced disappearances, beatings, and other forms of intimidation since the Taliban took control of the country during the Biden administration’s withdrawal from the country in August 2021.
Nevertheless, Amanpour seemed convinced that the Dobbs decision might discourage what to her mind would otherwise be a persuadable, reform-friendly regime. “This is really serious, this moment, for American women and for America’s ability to hold its head up as a democracy that respects the rights of every constituent,” she argued.
Amanpour’s comments mirror those made by senior Biden administration officials during the botched U.S. withdrawal in August. Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan repeatedly suggested last year that the Taliban would feel pressured to respect human rights after the U.S. withdrawal in order to gain entry into the international community.
The Court’s ruling in Dobbs allows states to decide what kind of restrictions, if any, on abortion to impose within their borders. Prior to the issuance of its holding, states were forbidden from restricting abortion until well into the second trimester of a pregnancy, but broadly interpreted exceptions for mothers’ health essentially guaranteed a right to abortion up until the moment of birth.