BBC to air radio show live from abortion clinic
The BBC has received strong criticism after revealing controversial plans to air a live radio show from an abortion clinic next month.
The show, which will make broadcast history, is due to be aired on Radio 5 live and will include interviews with members of staff and women terminating their pregnancies at an abortion clinic, which is yet to be named.
Victoria Derbyshire, who will host the show, claimed that the broadcast will “give us an insight into an area of British life which is taboo.”
The plans are being fiercely opposed by politicians and pro-life campaigners who argue that the broadcast will amount to the “free advertising” and “promotion” of abortion at a time when the industry is under investigation for illegally offering pregnancy terminations on demand.
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, who is campaigning to ensure that women who are considering an abortion are offered independent counselling, commented that it was “not unlike the BBC to take a biased view on such issues.”
She added: “My view is that the licence-fee payer funds this so the BBC needs to make sure that this programme is fair and balanced. The alternative options need to be properly represented otherwise this will simply become promotion.”
A spokesman for the charity LIFE said:
“Let’s not be fooled. This programme would promote the clinics and the abortion industry at a time when it is reeling from recent allegations of improper conduct. As if it is not enough that the industry is now being allowed to advertise abortions as a product, here comes the BBC with some free advertising.”
Following an undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley ordered raids on more than 250 private and NHS abortion clinics last month, which revealed that a significant number were flouting abortion laws and offering the procedure on demand.
The Care Quality Commission discovered that 50 clinics were breaking the law, with doctors regularly falsifying consent forms and patients not receiving acceptable levels of advice and counselling.
The Daily Telegraph investigation also found that many clinics were offering sex-selective abortions. Many of these clinics will now face police inquiries and some may be stripped of the licences that allow them to offer abortions.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“The BBC wants to give air time to an industry that receives money for terminating unborn children.
“I hope that the program will not promote or trivialises the nature of abortion, a procedure which has significant negative health implications for women.
“Listeners are likely to include vulnerable women who a facing an unwanted pregnancy. Will this show be giving them a balanced view?”