The former professional tennis player and BBC presenter, Sue Barker, has revealed that her mother tried to end her life while she was in the womb.
On BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Barker, 66, said her mother tried to end her pregnancy due to financial constraints, and said to her daughter “I didn’t want you”.
Barker said: “My dad particularly, he worked really hard, but they had just budgeted for two kids and they didn’t have a lot of money left over”.
“Then, a few months after my brother was born, suddenly my mum Betty was pregnant again”.
Barker was born in 1956, over a decade before abortion was legal in England and Wales. This meant that abortions were difficult to obtain.
Even though her birth came at a difficult time, Sue was always very close with her parents who managed to encourage and support her tennis career despite their financial difficulties.
She added: “My mum and I had the most wonderful relationship, even though they cut corners, which is why I really salute them in giving me my tennis career as well”.
“Even to buy me a tennis racket was a huge thing, because if you have three children you can’t favour one”.
100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland because abortion was illegal
Protections for unborn children were removed in 1967 under the Abortion Act.
Northern Ireland was the last region of the British Isles to introduce abortion in 2020. It is estimated that 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland today who would not have been if abortion were available as it was in the rest of the UK. This figure was confirmed by the Advertising Standards Authority in 2017.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “It seems likely that if abortion was legal in 1956, Sue Barker would never have been born. As was the case in Northern Ireland, 100,000 people are alive now that would not otherwise have been if abortion were legal in Northern Ireland”.