Wednesday 10 October 2012

My BBC Radio Five Live debate on abortion upper limits

Full audio here.

I was all set to debate Laurie Penny from the Penny Red blog on abortion upper limits on BBC Five Live at 0740 last Monday morning.

But they pulled the plug on the interview at 0738 when they couldn’t rouse Penny.

They then rescheduled for 0835 and said they would try to contact her again in the meantime.

However when I rang in I found that instead I was up against Darinka Aleksic, Campaign Co-ordinator at Abortion Rights.

I wonder why.

Anyway, the issue was hot because Health Minister Jeremy Hunt had said that he personally favoured a lowering of the upper limit for aborting able-bodied babies to 12 weeks from the current level of 24 weeks (Disabled babies can be aborted up until the moment of birth).

Two other cabinet ministers, Maria Miller and Theresa May, had backed 20 weeks.

This had resulted in a huge reaction from the pro-abortion lobby which thrust the debate into the media limelight.

I started by pointing out that 13 of the current 16 Tory MPs in cabinet actually voted for a lowering of the limit in 2008 when the issue was last debated – including 7 for 20 weeks, 2 for 16 weeks and 3 for 12 weeks.

So Hunt was by no means alone. Even David Cameron voted for 22 weeks back then and still favours a 'modest reduction'.

In addition I added that there were 16 countries in Europe which had upper limits of 10-12 weeks and that Britain had one of the highest upper limits and highest abortion rates in Europe.

I said that public and parliamentary opinion was changing for three main reasons – 4D ultrasounds, debates about fetal sentience and premature babies surviving below 24 weeks in neonatal units.

I added that this was increasing awareness about the ‘humanity of the pre-born baby’.

This was a phrase I hadn’t previously used on the media and it was interesting to see how the host Nicky Campbell (pictured) immediately picked up on it and probed Darinka about it.

She didn’t seem to like that very much so I think I will use it again. Maybe others should too.

Just when there might be another vote on this issue in parliament is anyone’s guess but there is no doubt it is a debate that will run and run.

Anyway, you can listen to the full interview on the CMF website.

1 comment:

  1. Peter I am so thankful that there are people like you who stand up for what is right.
    Sometimes I despair when I listen to ungodly people ridicule religion and morality on the basis of their own opinion and supposed findings. Darinka's argument of women's rights and raising issues such as women in business and politics showed that her standpoints were just opinion.

    You spoke very well and the statistics you referred to showed the seriousness of the discussion and completely invalidated her points. I just hope the listeners of the show thought the same.


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