Television chiefs are to ban an anti-abortion group from showing
footage of an abortion in a party political broadcast during the general
The BBC and the Independent Television Commission admit they could not
stop the Pro-life Alliance securing a party election broadcast if it
goes ahead with plans to field 50 candidates against MPs with pro-choice
But an ITC spokesman said: ’If this party puts forward content that is
unacceptable, then the broadcasters have the right to turn it down. I
think they would have a duty not to put it out.’
The Alliance warned it might challenge such a ruling in the courts -
although its resources are so limited that it has no advertising agency,
no ad budget and the film is being made in-house by students and
The broadcasters’ veto may force the group to limit its TV film to
showing a foetus in the womb rather than an abortion being performed.
The plan to show an abortion has already run into controversy with some
of the organisation’s own members.
Josephine Quintavalle, one of the party’s candidates and a spokeswoman
for the Alliance, said the broadcasters’ move was part of ’a conspiracy
of silence’ over the fate of the unborn child.
She said: ’If we can see a dead child in Rwanda on the news, why not a
The alliance also campaigns against euthanasia and in vitro
Under rules agreed by the political parties and broadcasters, a party
contesting at least 50 seats at a general election would normally be
allocated a broadcast, with further slots related to previous general
election support and the number of candidates fielded.