When Cathy Newman wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph last week promoting her Dispatches documentary on Britain’s pro-life groups, including the Good Counsel Network and 40 Days for Life, she wrote about the end of the film where she decides to confront a “zealous anti-abortion protester”, named Justyna, outside an abortion clinic in south-west London.
The scene is supposed to be the high point of Newman’s film, where she finally stands up to a pro-life bully. But as I watched, what I saw was a broadcast journalist with a first-class degree from Oxford following a Polish immigrant along the street, rapidly firing questions at her. There was certainly a Goliath on the prowl, but was it Justyna?
This tepid exposé coincided with a BBC documentary, presented by the actress Sally Phillips, about new non-invasive tests which will detect Down’s syndrome in the womb more effectively. Sally is the mother of Olly, who has Down’s, and she explained that she is worried that the new test will mean that Down’s babies will cease to be born. Why? To put it simply, currently nine out of 10 babies with Down’s in Britain are already aborted.
The hardest scene to watch was when Sally interviewed one of the few people in Iceland with Down’s syndrome, where the abortion rate for Down’s is now at 100 per cent. It was comforting to hear that Halldóra speaks two languages, has a full-time job and hopes to marry her boyfriend, but her look of isolation made me want to climb through the screen and hug her.
Later in the programme, Sally asked if “choice is always the wonderful thing it’s cracked up to be”. She said: “It leaves me wondering where all these individual choices are going to take us. What kind of a world will Olly be living in when he is my age?”
This raises the question of whether the state has a duty to re-balance rights to ensure than an entire type of people isn’t wiped out. This is the point which so many pro-abortion journalists glossed over as they denounced the documentary.
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