Last night, on Newsnight, I debated with Ann Furedie of BPAS the appointment of LIFE to the Governments sexual health forum.
Before I went on air I contacted the Department of Health and this is what I was told and then given in writing;
Marie Stopes International and the British Pregnancy advisory service have similar interests. We offered them a shared membership but they declined, and after careful consideration we concluded that it was not feasible to invite both….
The bottom line is that BPAS had a strop because LIFE, a charity which supports women with a crisis pregnancy who decide not to abort, was appointed to the forum. BPAS were quite happy for the two organisations which carry out the majority of the UK’s abortions, Marie Stopes and BPAS to be on the forum, but not LIFE.
If BPAS had got its way, how on earth would such a distorted, heavily weighted in favour of abortion perspective provide a balanced view on the forum?
The Department quite rightly felt that only one abortion provider was required and as BPAS refused to take alternate sittings with Marie Stopes, selected Marie Stopes.
Although I think I kept my cool, I take exception to the manner in which Ann Furedi made her objections. I showed her the email from the Department at the end of the show in order to re assure her that I had quoted correctly the information I had been given. I understand how angry she must feel, not least at her own organisation for having acted so petulantly, however, I do think her objections were slightly un-professional.
LIFE is an amazing charity. When women who don’t want to abort find themselves in danger or on the streets, LIFE picks them up and looks after them. Many adopted people today literally owe their own life to LIFE. They achieve nothing which isn’t wholly good and kind.
To object to their inclusion demonstrates a slightly warped view of what women and children need and want. If I were to go further, it also suggests that all women should be given no option other than that to abort, and Jeremy Paxman almost went there.