BBC Plans Broadcast From Abortion Clinic


A BBC Radio 5 program will be broadcast from an abortion clinic in an attempt to give a voice to the staff and patients, it has been announced.

Reports the Independent:

The BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Victoria Derbyshire will host an edition of her show from an as yet unnamed clinic next month and carry out interviews with women who are undergoing pregnancy terminations, as well as doctors, counsellors and junior members of the clinic’s staff. After a period of negotiation the clinic has consented to the programme and is likely to be identified.


Speaking to The Independent, Derbyshire said: “We have asked an abortion clinic for permission to broadcast and they have agreed. We appreciate the sensitivity around it and I would hope listeners would trust us to do it carefully.” She said she believed the programme to be unprecedented and said it would “give us an insight into an area of British life which is taboo”.


“Our point on that day is to bring new insights into areas of British life.
“What we want to do is talk to everybody involved who works in a clinic – the receptionist, the doctors, the consultants, the counsellors, and, if patients agree, we will talk to them.”

The BBC is keen to stress however that this is not to be taken as them pitching for a side in the pro-choice verses anti-abortion debate, but rather that it is an attempt to offer an insight into what the clinics are like and what it is like for the people associated with them.

However, anti-abortion voices have already decried the broadcast.

Reports the Telegraph:

But a spokeswoman for the Prolife Alliance said: “This latest initiative from the abortion lobby will inevitably provide free advertising for the organisation in question which surely cannot qualify as an exercise in objective journalism.”

Meanwhile Mark Bhagwandin, a spokesman for LIFE, said: “We strongly urge the BBC not to proceed with this programme.”

He said it was “baffling” that it was being suggested that abortion was “taboo”, given that hundreds were carried out every day.

Mr Bhagwandin added: “It seems to me that the objective of this programme would be to promote that particular abortion clinic and, by extension, the abortion industry, at a time when it is reeling from allegations of improper conduct.”

While charges of “free advertising” seem to be being thrown around rather liberally, the BBC is expressly forbidden from politicking so any actual advertizing is banned and as such the charges, being almost certainly baseless, are of little concern.

What the anti-abortion groups seem to be wary of however is the possibility that the broadcast might show the clinics in a light that no longer allows easy dehumanization and accusations that the clinics are preying on vulnerable and confused women, something that has been increasingly floated as the rhetoric surrounding abortion reform in the UK has heated up.

As suggested above, British clinics have been under investigation following a Daily Telegraph report that appeared to show some women at certain clinics having been offered sex-based terminations, something that is expressly forbidden. It is at this stage not apparent how widespread this problem is and termination providers, while absolutely condemning the practice, have said that they are confident this is not a widespread problem but that any breaking of the rules should be met with the full force of the law.

Initial feedback in this investigation seems to suggest that the overwhelming majority of care providers are indeed strictly adhering to the rules.

Religious conservative lawmakers have attempted in recent months to seek reform to Britain’s Abortion Act in order to allow religious groups to provide counselling to women prior to a termination. Following a loud outcry not just from pro-choice groups but health providers in general, the move was defeated but this did however prompt a wider review of abortion laws that not all ministers are satisfied is neutral.


Related Reading:
Irish Government Defeats ‘Woman’s Life At Risk’ Abortion Bill
Identifying as a Minority Risks Fragmenting Society?
British Cardinal Wants US Style Pre-Abortion Scans

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Tim Loudon.


Pamela H.
Pamela H5 years ago

Abortion clinics have been infiltrated by fundamentalist religious 'counsellers' and others who make women look at the monitor during forced ultrasounds. If they don't have the ultrasound they don't get the service.

Lilithe Magdalene

Brave move.

Tom Jack
Tom Jack5 years ago

American Ladies who are Pro Choice, regarding the rich white guys overthrowing their British Colonial overseers 200 years ago, do you sometimes wish for a do over?

Diana Roth
Diana Roth5 years ago


Lynn Squance
Lynn S5 years ago

I hope that this programme will be available on the net. It sounds well thought out and I hope it will be totally unbiased, either way. The pro-life camp has been providing so much misinformation and spreading fear with their extremist attacks, that a balanced approach is welcomed.

Korlia Rainey
Korlia Rainey5 years ago

continued; the unborn and the pregnant mother from being coerced or forced into an abortion by an abusive spouse or significant other. Why you would desire it to be outlawed instead of protected is baffling; if it's no longer taboo, it allows less abortions with more safety regulations to allow for accurate, safe and otherwise excellent care for these mothers and unborn, and allow them to be born, as with better security, morep rotections and such, it actually causes a decrease in abortion rates per state and capita.

The U.K. is a big example of a successful practice of this; abortion is not taboo over there, and you can get it pretty freely, but you don't see their society crumbling all around them, and indeed they have less abortions per region. Explain then, how making it unlawful will protect the unborn.

It won't. People who want an abortion will find a way; all you do is make it more difficult for a woman to obtain a safer abortion than an unsafe, potentially fatal abortion. Which is better, then: unsafe abortions and an increase in the death ratio of pregnant women and the unborn, or a potential decrease in the rate of abortion, women and the unborn as well as safe protections for coerced abortions and the like?

I already know which one I would prefer.

Korlia Rainey
Korlia Rainey5 years ago

Sharon R, I don't know if you know this -- sometimes it's hard to differentiate between fiction and reality, and I get that -- but those are not 'children.' They are zygotes, and embryos, sometimes even stillborn children who were already dead. Not many people I've spoken to like to birth a corpse, after all. Not only that, but your statistics are pretty bunk -- they aren't technically 'children' until the 3rd trimester, which is when the heart begins beating and develops as well as the rest of the organs.

Now separate 55 million of those depending on what trimester they were aborted in -- the number ends up being a lot less 'children' and a lot more 'embryos' and 'zygotes' doesn't it? Actual third trimester abortions are rare and for good reason.

So, if we took your 55 million and 1 in 4 children number, that's reduced to about 13 million children, which is about 1 in 100 abortions, with the remainder being embryo's and zygotes. Then the 1 in 4 becomes 1 in 25 for the second trimester and still not technically 'children' as they are not yet fully aware, nor have developed organs quite yet -- so then the number for '1 in 4' is bunk as well.

If you want these abortion rates to go down you don't get rid of the clinics or outlaw it; you embrace it. Why? Because it will give more protection to these women and unborn, as you can safetly input laws and regulations to help instead of hinder the process and allow for safer, better abortions while simultaneously protecting

Jonathan Netherton

$5 says someone finds out who the clinic is prior to broadcast and it gets bombed.

If we want to destroy and ban and hate and everything else women who get abortions, should we hold women legally accountable for miscarriages? It could be argued that their bad health led to death, which would be negligent homicide! Ooh - taking the pill forces eggs to not fertilize - conspiracy to commit murder!

If those kids were born they would just be more mouths in a world that only has enough for the decadently rich. If there was any indicator that life is so sacred that abortion is somehow an abberation of rationality then there would be no such thing as death or predators.

DeAnna Collins
DeAnna Collins5 years ago

I'm okay with first trimester abortions, but late term abortions to save the mother, can't they try and wait until the baby can be born via c-section and given a chance?

iii q.
g d c5 years ago