I spent Sunday last in the bowels of the BBC, ‘helping’ them with a pilot TV programme which I think is to be called ‘Sunday Morning Live’ and is to replace ‘The Big Question’ hosted by Nicky Campbell (I’d no idea there was a programme called ‘The Big Question’ before Sunday, or that the insufferable Nicky hosted it). Anyway, one of the topics they asked us to be ready to provide views on was the matter of abortion – specifically, should abortion ads be allowed on TV.
The answer is, if you think abortion should be legal, then of course it should be OK to advertise it on TV. Why not? Why would you think something should be made available to people and then refuse to allow ads telling them where and how to get it? What follows, of course, is that ads for those opposed to abortion should equally be shown on TV. Why not? If being opposed to abortion is an acceptable position, why shouldn’t those holding it be allowed to air their views on TV? What’s more, anti-abortionists should be allowed to show what abortion looks like, using posters or slides or whatever images they choose, providing they’re authentic. No rational person should be opposed to looking at the consequences of an action, particularly if that action is a controversial one. Objections in the name of ‘bad taste’ are flimsy and mix good manners with good morality, which is never a good idea.
Finally, if you believe that the testimony of those most affected by an action should be part of the debate (think of the central role accorded to victims of child abuse), then maybe Andrea Bocelli, Liverpool central defender Jamie Carragher and Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow deserve to be heard. The mothers of all three were advised by doctors to have their baby aborted.