Bishop hits out at BBC’s ‘pro-abor­tion bias’ over MP


BISHOP of Pais­ley John Keenan has at­tacked the BBC for “pro-abor­tion bias” over a news story pub­lished on the cor­po­ra­tion’s web­site.

A BBC re­port on Mon­day cov­ered crit­i­cism of the ap­point­ment of MP Maria Caulfield as the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s vicechair for women.

How­ever, Bishop Keenan said the ar­ti­cle con­tained too many com­ments from “pro-abor­tion­ists” and was an ex­am­ple of “yet more pro-abor­tion bias from the BBC”.

His views, re­ported in the Scot­tish Catholic Ob­server, in­cluded the claim that the cor­po­ra­tion “seems to think it is dis­ap­point­ing that any wo­man politi­cian should have such anx­i­ety for the plight of un­born hu­man be­ings – and for so­ci­ety – at the hor­rific pro­pos­als pro-abor­tion­ists are now se­ri­ously ped­dling.”

He added: “Let me try to pro­vide some bal­ance in the in­ter­est of public ser­vice. Those push­ing for the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of abor­tion are press­ing for the right to abort ba­bies up to birth for any rea­son what­so­ever. The present law at least puts some kind of limit on late abor­tions and, at least in the­ory, re­minds so­ci­ety of the se­ri­ous­ness of tak­ing an in­no­cent hu­man life.”

Re­port­ing on the ap­point­ment of Lewes MP Ms Caulfield to the se­nior party post, the BBC had quoted the Bri­tish Preg­nancy Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice, who crit­i­cised the ap­point­ment be­cause she has voted against the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of abor­tion.

Mean­while So­phie Walker, Women’s Equal­ity Party leader, said Ms Caulfield could “never ad­vo­cate ef­fec­tively” for women. Bishop Keenan added: “In fact it is Maria Caulfield who rep­re­sents the views of most UK women.

“Seventy-two per cent of women want abor­tion to be gov­erned by a le­gal frame­work and only one per cent of women sup­ported the abor­tion limit be­ing raised, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent poll.

“I know a few ex­cel­lent BBC jour­nal­ists, but this just lets us all down.”

Ms Caulfield is re­ported as say­ing she did op­pose de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of abor­tion, and sup­ported the re­duc­tion of the 24-week limit on ter­mi­na­tions in nor­mal cir­cum­stances, in the light of med­i­cal ad­vances.

She said: “The cur­rent law is a safe­guard be­cause it pro­tects vul­ner­a­ble women who

I know a few ex­cel­lent BBC jour­nal­ists, but this just lets us all down

might be pres­surised by an abu­sive part­ner or fam­ily mem­ber to have an abor­tion.”

Stephen Evans, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at the Na­tional Sec­u­lar So­ci­ety said Bishop Keenan’s ac­cu­sa­tion was “way off the mark”.

“The BBC is well known for its overly def­er­en­tial ap­proach to re­li­gion,” he said. “Me­dia re­ports have sim­ply re­flected wide­spread con­cern that a politi­cian ap­pointed to ad­vo­cate for women’s rights ap­pears to make de­ci­sions based on her own re­li­gious be­liefs rather an ev­i­den­tial and ob­jec­tive ba­sis. I sus­pect the bishop’s real vex­a­tion is that Catholic teach­ing is out of touch with both main­stream opin­ion and Catholic opin­ion on abor­tion.”

No-one from the BBC was avail­able to com­ment.

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