By Kathleen Gilbert
LONDON, October 5, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A pro-abortion UK columnist provoked outrage from advocates of the disabled and horrified her fellow panelists on a BBC television show after she enthusiastically supported the smothering of suffering infants.
Author Virginia Ironside, who has a regular advice column in The Independent newspaper, appeared on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live show to argue that killing unborn disabled children is a possible act of mercy. But the other women on the show quickly reacted in horror after Ironside indicated that she was willing to go much further than simply advocating abortion.
"If I were a mother of a suffering child, I would be the first to want - I mean a deeply suffering child - I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face," said the columnist. "And I would with any suffering thing."
Ironside added that she held that view because "my feeling of horror at suffering is much greater than my feeling of getting rid of a couple of cells, because suffering can go on for years."
"I'm sorry, I was just about to introduce another guest there, but that was a pretty horrifying thing to say," said a shocked BBC host Susanna Reid.
"What?" asked Ironside.
"That you would put a pillow over the face of a suffering child," said Reid.
"Of course I would! If it was a child I really loved who was in agony?" Ironside shot back. "I think any good mother would. I don't know any mother who wouldn’t say that if this was - there was nothing else that could be done."
A clearly agitated Joanna Jepson, an Anglican reverend who was also appearing on the show, gasped, "That's just not true!" Asked if she thought all mothers would agree with her, Ironside concluded, "I think a lot would. Maybe not any, but a lot."
On the same program, Ironside argued that an abortion could be "moral" if the child is disabled or "totally unwanted," saying it could even be "selfish" not to kill one's child in a eugenic abortion.
"Abortion can often be seen as something wicked or irresponsible but in fact it can be a moral and unselfish act," she said. "If a baby is to be born severely disabled or totally unwanted, surely abortion is the act of a loving mother."
Stunned BBC viewers complained to the network following Ironside's infanticide remarks. Clair Lewis, an advocate for disabled individuals, excoriated the columnist for advocating the eugenic elimination of disabled people.
"The problems that disabled people face will not be fixed by killing off unborn children," said Lewis.
GP Peter Evans, a member of the Christian Medical Fellowship, told UK media that it is "very dangerous" for individuals to decide who ought to live and who should die.
"For us to make judgments that people are not worth life, not worth the opportunity to live, is a very dangerous thing," Evans said.
Despite the widespread disgust with Ironside’s remarks, The Guardian, a prominent left-leaning UK newspaper, quickly ran a piece by columnist Zoe Williams defending them as "valid" and "brave."
Williams conceded that arguments favoring eugenic abortion, such as the idea that aborting a disabled child is "just helping [a natural miscarriage] along," can "sound pretty flippant." However, she added, "This is where Ironside has done something crucial: somebody has to assert the moral dimension of being pro-choice, that it's not all convenience and heartlessness.”