Catholic church backs channel 4 abortion documentary - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
April 5, 2004

Catholic church backs channel 4 abortion documentary

-5/4/04

The Catholic church in England and Wales has said that a controversial channel 4 documentary which will show footage of an abortion "could prove a powerful anti-abortion message, highlighting the full horror".

My Foetus, to be screened this month, will show a "vacuum-pump" abortion. The results of the three-minute procedure, generally performed on pregnancies under 12 weeks gestation, are then placed on a petri dish. It will be the first abortion to be shown on television in Britain.

Archbishop Peter Smith said; "Television images of an abortion, disturbing and repulsive as they undoubtedly would be, could prove a powerful anti-abortion message, highlighting the full horror of abortion. The truth of what is being done out of the public gaze is the true scandal of abortion. Every day in England and Wales there are 481 abortions on average."

In a statement, the Archbishop who is also the chairman of the department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops' Conference continued; "Everyone, especially women, has a right to know what abortion really involves. If the tide of public opinion were to be turned by these disturbing images, it would be for the common good. "

"What Channel 4 plans to show in this programme is the killing of one unborn child. But, tragically, abortion has become one of the most common surgical procedures performed in Britain."

But the Bishop also warned; "Women often undergo abortions in the face of terrible pressure and even fear. They must be always treated with compassion and in no way condemned. Too often they have been sold the lie that abortion is an easy option."

Viewers watching the programme will see pictures of foetuses aborted at ten, 11 and 21 weeks.

A pro-life group banned by broadcasters from showing graphic images of aborted foetuses has also welcomed Channel 4ís decision to include the footage in a film which tackles one of televisionís last taboos.

The Pro-Life Alliance said the decision marked "the end of the line for politically-correct censorship by broadcasters" and signalled its intention to use such images in its forthcoming general election campaign. But the group, which tried to use the images in a party political broadcast made for its 1997 and 2001 election campaigns, condemned the channel for its plans to screen an abortion being carried out on a woman who is four weeks pregnant.

Pro-choice groups, including the abortion agency BPAS: Abortion Care, have also welcomed the film, saying it made an important contribution to the debate.

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 said the film uses the procedure and the images in the context of a wider discussion about the fiercely-contested battle between the pro-life and pro-choice sides of the abortion debate.

A spokeswoman for the network said it has taken steps to ensure My Foetus was not in danger of breaching taste and decency laws. They include: ensuring any images are "carefully conceptualised" within the wider discussion of the issues surrounding abortion; putting the programme out on a late-night 11pm slot; warning viewers both before and during the programme of potentially disturbing images; and informing viewers of a support line.

She denied the programme will go beyond what the Pro-Life Alliance film planned. "The issue for us is not that we show an abortion procedure but the context in which we show it," she told The Scotsman.

The spokeswoman added that the network had refused to show the Pro-Life film in 1997 and 2001 "because of the volume of images, the way they were presented and the lack of context". However, any future film by the group would be judged on its merits, she added.

A recent report published by the Governmentís Office for National Statistics showed that almost one in four (23 per cent) of all pregnancies in Britain now ends in abortion. This figure rises to more than one in three (36 per cent) of pregnancies in women under 20. At the same time, it has been pointed out that the overall national birth rate is at an all-time low.

Catholic church backs channel 4 abortion documentary

-5/4/04

The Catholic church in England and Wales has said that a controversial channel 4 documentary which will show footage of an abortion "could prove a powerful anti-abortion message, highlighting the full horror".

My Foetus, to be screened this month, will show a "vacuum-pump" abortion. The results of the three-minute procedure, generally performed on pregnancies under 12 weeks gestation, are then placed on a petri dish. It will be the first abortion to be shown on television in Britain.

Archbishop Peter Smith said; "Television images of an abortion, disturbing and repulsive as they undoubtedly would be, could prove a powerful anti-abortion message, highlighting the full horror of abortion. The truth of what is being done out of the public gaze is the true scandal of abortion. Every day in England and Wales there are 481 abortions on average."

In a statement, the Archbishop who is also the chairman of the department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops' Conference continued; "Everyone, especially women, has a right to know what abortion really involves. If the tide of public opinion were to be turned by these disturbing images, it would be for the common good. "

"What Channel 4 plans to show in this programme is the killing of one unborn child. But, tragically, abortion has become one of the most common surgical procedures performed in Britain."

But the Bishop also warned; "Women often undergo abortions in the face of terrible pressure and even fear. They must be always treated with compassion and in no way condemned. Too often they have been sold the lie that abortion is an easy option."

Viewers watching the programme will see pictures of foetuses aborted at ten, 11 and 21 weeks.

A pro-life group banned by broadcasters from showing graphic images of aborted foetuses has also welcomed Channel 4ís decision to include the footage in a film which tackles one of televisionís last taboos.

The Pro-Life Alliance said the decision marked "the end of the line for politically-correct censorship by broadcasters" and signalled its intention to use such images in its forthcoming general election campaign. But the group, which tried to use the images in a party political broadcast made for its 1997 and 2001 election campaigns, condemned the channel for its plans to screen an abortion being carried out on a woman who is four weeks pregnant.

Pro-choice groups, including the abortion agency BPAS: Abortion Care, have also welcomed the film, saying it made an important contribution to the debate.

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 said the film uses the procedure and the images in the context of a wider discussion about the fiercely-contested battle between the pro-life and pro-choice sides of the abortion debate.

A spokeswoman for the network said it has taken steps to ensure My Foetus was not in danger of breaching taste and decency laws. They include: ensuring any images are "carefully conceptualised" within the wider discussion of the issues surrounding abortion; putting the programme out on a late-night 11pm slot; warning viewers both before and during the programme of potentially disturbing images; and informing viewers of a support line.

She denied the programme will go beyond what the Pro-Life Alliance film planned. "The issue for us is not that we show an abortion procedure but the context in which we show it," she told The Scotsman.

The spokeswoman added that the network had refused to show the Pro-Life film in 1997 and 2001 "because of the volume of images, the way they were presented and the lack of context". However, any future film by the group would be judged on its merits, she added.

A recent report published by the Governmentís Office for National Statistics showed that almost one in four (23 per cent) of all pregnancies in Britain now ends in abortion. This figure rises to more than one in three (36 per cent) of pregnancies in women under 20. At the same time, it has been pointed out that the overall national birth rate is at an all-time low.

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