BBC accused of discrimination against pro-life women campaigners and unborn babies over Anne Robinson abortion programme
13 October 2017
The BBC has been accused of discriminating against pro-life supporters and unborn babies ahead of a controversial new documentary to be screened next week (Mon Oct 16).
The criticism comes just days before the screening of the show in which presenter Anne Robinson tells of her own experience of abortion.
But it’s been revealed that the programme makers have excluded a number of women from the documentary who would have spoken against abortion.
A pregnant woman was dropped after being told that she might upset others taking part.
And two other women pro-life campaigners were snubbed although they had expected to be involved.
Last night, the BBC was subjected to searching questions from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), the world’s oldest and largest pro-life group which was founded in 1968.
Dr Anthony McCarthy, SPUC’s Director of Education Research and Communications, said:
"The programme is called ‘Abortion On Trial’ but perhaps we should ask if the BBC is truly an unbiased judge, given the witnesses it is denying a place on the stand."
Former nurse Sarah Costerton was interviewed as a potential panellist for the BBC2 programme, hosted by presenter Anne Robinson.
Mrs Costerton said programme-makers had seemed keen for her to participate but after being told her pregnancy might distress other participants or restrict what they felt able to say, she was informed that she would not be required.
In another snub Margaret Cuthill was left out.
As a young woman she had an abortion but when she felt unwell returned to her doctor. It was discovered she had actually been pregnant with twins and that only one had been aborted. She went on to give birth to that baby and her daughter now has a family of her own.
Since then, through the Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH) she has helped countless mothers heal following an abortion and has saved the babies of countless mothers-to-be. She planned to talk about those experiences.
Catholic midwife Mary Doogan was also dropped.
Along with her colleague, Mary Doogan fought a legal case seeking the right to avoid supervising other midwives involved in abortion procedures.
But the UK Supreme Court ruled they would have to support staff assisting with terminations.
Mary planned to talk about the effect of abortion on women’s mental health.
The documentary also highlights a new opinion poll commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK’s abortion legislation.
The poll reveals that 7 out of 10 respondents effectively believe that abortion is available on demand at the moment - that a woman will get it simply by requesting it, rather than convincing two doctors of a medical need.
However, only 37 per cent supported abortion in any circumstances ie abortion on demand.
Reacting to the findings Dr McCarthy said:
"Despite public perceptions, the Abortion Act does not in fact permit abortion on demand.
"So it is very significant that so many people polled believe this is exactly what we have.
"Most abortions are cynically authorised on mental health grounds though there is no evidence at all that having a baby is worse than abortion for the mother's mental health.”
He added: "It is gratifying that the poll shows that more people than not think it is appropriate abortion be considered a criminal matter and so would reject the current undemocratic moves toward decriminalisation which the abortion industry is relentlessly pushing."
"A crisis pregnancy can be overwhelming but almost all of those who do have their babies will accept and love their child. Children are not property, and parents need support with accepting and welcoming the baby before birth, not an offer to take the baby's life."
Dr Anthony McCarthy can be contacted on: