The BBC & Abortion Clinics

Dear Sir,
You report the BBC’s plans to broadcast from an unnamed abortion clinic, featuring “interviews with women undergoing terminations and doctors and counsellors” (‘BBC show to air live from abortion clinic’, Telegraph, April 24, 2012). The BBC insists it will be ‘”robust and challenging”‘. However, its track record on such issues suggests that this ‘challenging’ approach will be along the lines of ‘some women have abortions – get over it’. Indeed, as you note, pro-choice advocates have welcomed the programme as ‘“a chance to present abortion in a way that was not ‘couched in terms of controversy’.”
It is highly unlikely that the BBC, not noted for its pro-life stance, will broadcast the reality of what the clinic does for a living – abortion. Neither is it likely to mention life-affirming alternatives, like better support for mothers – just as, rather than highlighting this country’s excellent hospice care, they chose to show an assisted suicide at the Dignitas centre in Switzerland. Their approach was deliberately low-key, and we can expect that this abortion clinic programme will similarly present killing as part of everyday life. By putting it on radio, however, the BBC will ensure that abortion is heard but not seen.
Yours faithfully,
Ann Farmer

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