A pregnant woman was dropped from a BBC television debate on abortion after being told that she might upset others taking part.
Former nurse Sarah Costerton was interviewed as a potential panellist for a new BBC2 programme called Abortion On Trial, hosted by presenter Anne Robinson.
Mrs Costerton said programme-makers had seemed keen for her to participate but after being told her pregnancy might distress other participants or restrict what they felt able to say, she was informed that she would not be required.
The married mother of three said: ‘They were worried it would inhibit people speaking freely or cause upset; that me being pregnant would offend people who opted for a termination. That’s what was said.’
She said the programme-makers had given no explanation for not selecting her, but added: ‘It seemed that me that being pregnant was a stumbling block.’
She said that she did not see how a debate could fully represent all views on abortion if none of the participants was pregnant, and the programme makers had ‘missed an opportunity’ by not inviting her to take part.
We don’t, of course, know all of what happened. But it would be odd to have a discussion by only having those with one set of views, or perhaps by deliberately excluding a certain set of them.
‘If women who had terminations are willing to go on the television and testify to that and explain their reasoning, me sitting there pregnant shouldn’t make any difference or be offensive.’