22 April 1997
From pro-choice to no choice
Television broadcasters have struck a blow against democracy and
free speech, says Bruno Waterfield
The pro-Life Alliance's schlock anti-abortion broadcast,
featuring a dismembered fetus, is to be banned in the name of
taste and decency. But since when have broadcasters had the right
to decide what goes in a general election?
Whether corporate suits like it or not the world is as it is not
as middle class sensibility demands. Abortions happen and when
they do a fetus is destroyed. Like most surgical procedures it
involves blood and stuff. Under the cover of 'taste and decency'
the broadcasters are trying to determine what is an acceptable
contribution to the election debate, and what is not.
The pro-Life Alliance is reactionary. Their politics, if policy,
would constrain and diminish the lives of women. But by banning
their message we are all robbed of deciding ourselves about an
important and legitimate election issue. However gruesome the
anti-abortion alliance's shock tactics it should be the voters
that what goes in a general election.
Some pro-choice people have supported this ban on the basis that
women may be traumatised or have their arms twisted into having
a child they do not want. These kind of arguments are the most
dangerous of all. They strike at the very heart of the idea that
a woman can and should decide herself whether to carry a child
or not. By censoring the anti-choice lobby the broadcasters have
attacked the idea of freedom that should underpin the pro-choice
In a bizarre turnaround religious fanatics and bigots can now
assume the mantle of defenders of freedom and democracy. They can
do this because in this election, censorship and not open
political debate is what the broadcasters have in store for us.
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