Media launches attack on pavement counsellors
3 October 2016
One woman describes how help and support from a pavement counsellor gave her the strength to keep her baby
A number of media outlets have launched an assault on pavement counsellors, especially the Good Counsel Network (GCN) - but journalists have refused all invitations to interview women helped by the organisation.
Channel 4's Dispatches is airing an episode on Wednesday called "Undercover: Britain's Abortion Extremists." Ahead of its broadcast, the Mail on Sunday has published an inflammatory piece [link] accusing the GCN of lying to and intimidating women. The article quotes Keir Starmer, the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, and a Labour MP, who is a known advocate for "buffer zones", areas outside abortion clinics where people would be prohibited from standing.
However, the GCN have said in a statement that none of the media sources has accepted an invitation to speak to women who have been helped. Hundreds of mothers have chosen to avoid abortion after accepting GCN's help outside clinics, but Channel 4, the Mail on Sunday, and others all refused to speak to any of them.
Read SPUC’s comments on this story in our press release.
Down's syndrome screening continues to make news
Domenica Lawson, (far left) with some of Team Domenica, a charity started by her mother to get learning disabled young adults into jobs. Photo: Daily Mail
Debate is continuing in the media over use of NIPT (non-invasive pre-natal testing) for Down's syndrome. The issue has been given prominence because of a BBC documentary called "A World without Down's syndrome?" presented by actress Sally Phillips, which airs on Wednesday.
Dominic Lawson writes in the Daily Mail that the test means that "through public choice, the British Health service would do for Down's people that the Nazis tried to do to the Jews: total elimination." Mr Lawson, whose daughter Domenica has Down's syndrome, also talks about how doctors gave her "the bleakest imaginable prognosis", an experience shared by Sally Phillips when her son Olly was born ten years later.
Meanwhile, one of Britain's leading anti-life campaigners has strongly criticised Sally Phillips' documentary, saying it is "not at all helpful" for parents facing decisions around a prenatal diagnosis of disability. Jane Fisher, director of Antenatal Results and Choices, said it risked suggesting to people who have had an abortion that they made the wrong decision, and that "it's too problematic to have one individual representing that choice - one who is an advocate for not screening, who has a high-functioning, much loved child."
No such thing as limited abortion, says archbishop
The Catholic Primate of All Ireland has said that, from a moral standpoint, there is no such thing as "limited" abortion.
Archbishop Eamon Martin released a statement setting out the Catholic Bishop's position in advance of the first meeting in a fortnight's time of the Citizens' Assembly, established by the Government to consider the Eighth Amendment, which upholds the equal right to life of mother and unborn child.
In his message, Dr Martin said that the medical prognosis for the life of a child in the womb, or the extent of that child's disabilities, is no more morally relevant to deciding if the baby should be allowed to live than it is when considering an adult who faces the diagnosis of a life-limiting condition.
French government announces plan to criminalise websites opposing abortion
LifeSiteNews reports that the French minister for Families, Childhood and Women's Rights celebrated the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion with a plan to censor a number of websites that allegedly mislead women about abortion.
Laurence Rossignol announced that the government will propose an amendment to the law introducing a new offense called "digital dissimulation" to crack down on what she calls "manipulation" and "biased information" discouraging women from having abortions.