A Scottish bishop has criticised the BBC for being biased against pro-lifers.
Bishop John Keenan of Paisley was responding to the corporation’s coverage of the appointment of Maria Caulfield, a Catholic, as the Conservative Party’s vice chair for women.
The bishop defended Ms Caulfield, who provoked anger for opposing a bill decriminalising abortion last year. “Read the report and you’ll find yet more pro-abortion bias from the BBC with the vast majority of their quotes coming from pro-abortionists,” he told the Scottish Catholic Observer.
“So 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.”
Bishop Keenan suggested that the BBC “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”.
“In fact,” he added, “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 support the abortion limit being raised, according to a recent poll.
“I know a few excellent BBC journalists but this just lets us all down,” the bishop said.
The original BBC report focused on the complaints of abortion provider BPAS, which said Ms Caulfield’s appointment was unacceptable due to her opposition to decriminalising abortion. Sophie Walker, the Women’s Equality Party leader, said Ms Caulfield could “never advocate effectively” for women.
Ms Caulfield wrote in inews: “I did oppose decriminalisation of abortion because I don’t believe we should be having abortions up to term. I think the 24-week limit could do with reducing with medical advances.
“Babies who are born at 22 and 23 weeks are able to survive and live long and healthy lives. The current law is a safeguard because it protects vulnerable women who might be pressurised by an abusive partner or family member to have an abortion. In my couple of years as an MP I’ve never had one woman come to me saying she is having difficulty accessing an abortion.
“It’s not my place to judge any woman who wanted to have an abortion but when as a legislator I am concerned that a change in the law will adversely affect vulnerable women or babies that are female, then absolutely I have a right to speak out about this.
“It’s a sad day in this country if you can’t have a different view to someone. To say that someone who has a different view cannot represent women is absolutely ridiculous.”