On Thursday Ann Widdecombe hopes to use her new found Strictly fame to campaign for one of her most fervently held beliefs; that abortion is wrong.
She is to speak at a dinner held by Britain’s leading anti-abortion group, Right to Life.
In the UK, the fight for women to choose abortion has largely been won [though abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland] but a passionate anti-choice lobby still remains.
Earlier this year Veronica Connolly launched a case against the BBC saying she should not have to pay her license fee because the BBC had censored an election broadcast by the Pro-life Alliance on the grounds it was too graphic. She said:
“I want to highlight that the BBC has become the mouthpiece of the Government, which is generally very pro-abortion. We get pro-abortion propaganda thrust down our throats and it’s time someone said ‘no, enough’.
“Abortion is the biggest human rights issue of our day.”
Meanwhile, in recent months women going to Marie Stopes House in central London to seek a termination are being confronted by US style anti-abortion campaigners. A Texan religious group called 40 Days for Life have been accused of blocking the women’s way to the clinic and handing out misleading leaflets which over emphasise the risks of abortion.
Darinka Aleksic, campaign co-ordinator at Abortion Rights, said:
“American-style tactics are being increasingly used in Britain, not just with pickets but with internet campaigns and the use of misleading leafleting,
“We are strongly in favour of women receiving as much support, counselling and information about abortion as possible. But we’re worried about the tenor of a lot of the advice being given out by these pickets. There’s a lot of emphasis on guilt and misleading scientific information.”
Last month a rally was held outside Parliament to mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act. Anti-abortion campaigners commemorated the 6.7 million terminations carried out in Britain legally since the Act came into force.
Though the anti-abortion lobby is very vocal, there are a few facts they often leave out:
- Rates of abortions in countries where it is legal and where it is not are largely similar. This means in countries where abortion is illegal there are simply a great number of abortions carried out in sub-standard and dirty conditions, which are extremely dangerous for women.
- While anti-abortion campaigners often emphasise the dangers of abortion, carrying a pregnancy to full term is actually more dangerous. Post-abortion depression is often talked about more than post-natal depression.
- The majority of abortions are carried out before the ten-week stage, when foetuses are approximately the same size as a kumquat [about 20g]. 90% of abortions are carried out before 14-weeks, when the foetus is the about the size of a lemon.
There will be a pro-choice protest outside the Royal Overseas House in St James’s Street London on Thursday [Nov 25], starting at 6.30