Beloved British family drama ‘Call the Midwife’ botches history on illegal abortions
January 16, 2019 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – BBC drama "Call the Midwife" has mis-sold the reality of abortion in its Season 8 returning episode, which portrayed a botched backstreet abortion storyline. The Sunday night episode featured character Cath seeking an abortion during a time where the procedure was still illegal. Soon after she went into labour and delivered her dead baby surrounded by Anglican nuns. Following this distressing scene, Cath's suffering did not end with the delivery, as her womb was then surgically removed to avoid infection.
The abortion storyline of the hit TV show succeeded in sinisterly misleading viewers about the history of backstreet abortion and the reality of the procedure itself. Within hours of airing, jubilant pro-abortion fans had taken to Twitter to applaud the show and support abortion access. One user wrote: "Well done to Call the Midwife for tackling the illegal abortion issue. This is why everyone should have access to free & safe abortion services." Whilst another user wrote: "You'd like to think backstreet abortions were a thing of the past, until you consider they're still illegal in some parts of the UK, i.e., Northern Ireland."
SPUC Director of Parliamentary Communications said: "It is disappointing that this particular storyline of Call the Midwife, a well-loved family show, has been used by some to advocate in favour of abortion. It is important to remember that abortion, whether legal or illegal, can never be safe as it always ends an innocent life and so often damages the mother. The reality is that nuns at the time of the setting of the drama would have been greatly distressed by the death of an innocent baby. Fifty years of abortion law has deadened the consciences of many today, but back then the moral horror of abortion was widely shared."
It is still widely perceived that countless women were dying of botched backstreet abortions before abortion law was liberalised. However, this theory is entirely deceitful and is the result of skewed statistics and propaganda. Before the 1967 Abortion Act, relatively few women were dying from maternal causes. After the Act came into force the overall trend in the number of women dying from all causes in their childbearing years continued to steadily decline. There was no sudden marked decline after the Abortion Act was introduced.
The Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) revealed that in 1962 approximately 14,600 women and England and Wales had received treatment for the consequences of criminal abortion. In 1966 the RCOG commented: "It has been repeatedly stated that 100,000 criminal abortions are induced in this country each year, and a more recent estimate is 250,000. These, and an earlier figure of 50,000 are without factual foundation of which we are aware."
Even in Northern Ireland where abortion law is restrictive, no maternal deaths have been recorded from illegal abortion in over 20 years. Similar countries that choose to value human life and reject abortion also have good maternal health records.
Despite calls from misinformed Twitter users for safe abortion access, dangerous backstreet abortion practices have already arrived in the UK in the form of DIY home abortions. In 2017 the Scottish Government followed by the UK Government in 2018 permitted the use of lethal abortion drugs for home consumption. This practice sees women consume deadly drugs in an isolated environment with no medical supervision or assistance, thus reverting back to the backstreet abortion practice.
For those harmed by abortion help is available from ARCH which operates every day of the year providing support and counselling. The helpline number is 0845 603 8501.
Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.