Abortion-related comedy as a political ‘weapon’ on the rise in UK and US

The protagonist of Netflix's comedy-drama 'Sex Education' just before she has an abortion.

An article on the BBC makes the case that abortion related comedy is on the rise and can be used as a means to advance pro-abortion politics.

The author suggests that the growth in abortion related comedy arises from the increase in abortion related political activity. This year, for example, the Parliament in Westminster voted to impose abortion on Northern Ireland, and abortion has exploded as one of the principle dividing lines in American politics.

As the abortion debate goes on the across the Western world, the author argues that “comedy is being used as a weapon.”

Making her case, the author says that the subject of the abortion jokes is not abortion itself but those “who don’t respect the rights of the individual [to have an abortion],” and goes on to document the growth in abortion related comedy both in the UK and US, through theatre, television and film.

At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for example, a number of comedians, both from the US and the UK, make jokes about abortion or even centre comedy sketches around the topic. This year, one comedian, Jena Friedman performed the show called ‘Miscarriage of Justice’ at the Festival which contains a satire on the Roe vs Wade decision which made abortion legal throughout the US.

“I could do a whole show about abortion… I’m trying to find humour in stuff that I don’t find funny” Friedman said.

Another comedian at the Festival, Tiff Stevenson, performs a show which opens with her “origin story” of having an abortion at 17. At the same time, in A Womb of One’s Own, a comic play by Claire Rammelkamp, four identically dressed women act (and dance) out her experience of having an abortion as a student.

As abortion-related comedy is on the rise in theatre, it is also growing on Netflix and television.

American stand-up, Michelle Wolf, performed a ‘salute to abortion’ in her Netflix show ‘The Break’, in which – dressed up in a stars-and-stripes leotard – she throws handfuls of glitter into the air and yells “God bless abortions and God bless America!” The Break was not renewed for a second season.

Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’ also contains a string of off-the-cuff jokes about abortion. Abortion as a subject of humour is also found in film, most notably in the 2014 comedy-drama, Obvious Child.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said:

“ONS and Department of Health figures show that almost 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in abortion. This is clearly not a funny matter but deeply distressing and sad. The growth of abortion-related ‘comedy’ is a naked attempt to normalise a procedure which so many women find deeply traumatic.”

“Despite the growth in this kind of ‘comedy’, it is far from mainstream, as most people recognise, whether pro-life or pro-abortion, that there is nothing funny about abortion. That the BBC would publish such an article, is itself revealing of their priorities.”

(Image credit: Netflix screen shot)

BBC grossly exaggerated number of women directly ordering abortion pills from overseas providers FOI reveals

Data released today (22/07) as a result of a Freedom Of Information request by Right To Life UK, shows that the BBC grossly exaggerated the actual number of women in the UK who have ordered illegal abortion pills online from overseas.

BBC coverage from 2017 implied that increasingly large numbers of individual women were directly ordering abortion pills from website overseas. This in turn suggested that there had been an increased demand from individual women for illegal abortion pills over a number of years.

However, the BBC’s presentation of the facts was extremely misleading. They disclosed the total number of abortion pills that have been seized each year since 2013, but failed to disclose that only one or two parcels of abortion pills had actually been seized each year.

So, instead of the hundreds of individuals apparently illegally ordering abortion pills online, the Freedom of Information request showed only a handful of individuals had ordered parcels containing abortion pills.

The data has been released as abortion campaigners seek to use alleged demand from women for illegal online abortion pills as a rationale for introducing a new radical abortion law to England and Wales.

In fact, the data obtained from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency showed that between 2013 and 2016 only 6 parcels containing abortion pills were seized at the border.

Operation Pangea seizures of abortion pills


2013201420152016
Number of abortion pills seized:5180270375
Actual number of parcels (not reported by BBC):1122

A spokesperson for Right To Life, Clare McCarthy said:

It is very disappointing that the BBC have mislead the public around this. They appear to have mislead the public by omitting the vital point in their reporting that only one or two parcels a year had actually been seized, rather than hundreds.

Anyone who read the original coverage on this would have been lead to believe that 100s of individual women were ordering abortion pills online from overseas providers. The data released today shows that this likely not the case at all.

In fact, only a very small number of parcels had been imported by either a couple of individuals or possibly by abortion campaigners to make it appear that there was a very high demand from individual women. The BBC have selectively reported this misleading figure, leading the public to believe there was much higher demand from individual women for abortion pills from online overseas providers than is likely actually the case.
We are calling on the BBC to correct all the coverage they have given this issue and publicly commit to balanced reporting on this issue in the future.

BBC calls abortion amendment “exciting titbit”

The BBC have revealed a deep pro-abortion bias by referring to controversial amendments, including an amendment attempting to introduce abortion to Northern Ireland, as “exciting titbits” (a phrase which has since been removed).

In the build up to yesterday’s debate on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, the BBC drew attention to three amendments which were the subject of much debate. After explaining that it is the Speaker of the House who has the authority to decide which amendments are accepted, the BBC article said

“But, if chosen, there are three exciting titbits that could make this bill more than just a straightforward government measure.” [emphasis added]

One of the “exciting titbits” to which the BBC refer was an amendment concerning abortion in Northern Ireland.

For reasons unknown, the BBC has subsequently changed this sentence to say:

“But, if chosen, there are three amendments that could make this bill more than just a straightforward government measure.”

Right To Life UK’s Clare McCarthy said: “The pro-abortion bias of the BBC is on clear display in this statement and its hurried revision. The national broadcaster has a duty to remain neutral in its dissemination of news, and this kind of statement speaks volumes about their attitude to abortion.”

“Referring to a radical abortion amendment is an ‘exciting titbit’ trivalises an immensely important issue with far reaching consequences not only for mothers and their unborn babies in Northern Ireland, but also potentially for the rest of the UK.”

“This ‘exciting titbit’ also threatens to undermine devolution, makes a mockery of parliamentary process, and the language stands in stark contrast to the BBC’s own style guide which says ‘[a]bortion is a very painful topic’ and is ‘one of the most polarising moral issues’.

Woman shares her abortion story on the BBC in front of an abortion doctor

On Tuesday 2nd July, in a panel discussion on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme which included an abortion doctor, a woman who regrets her abortion revealed that she “wasn’t well informed” about what her abortion would involve.

Laura Mann had an abortion at 21 weeks when she was 19, during the course of the discussion said “ in hindsight I know that I wasn’t well informed… when I came out of Marie Stopes… the first thing that went through my mind was ‘Where’s my baby, what’s happened to the body of my baby?’ And I kept asking myself that question.”

She felt under “so much pressure” to have an abortion with “[a]ll the voices around [her] at the time time… telling [her she] couldn’t do it.”

Laura said: “[W]hen I went into to discuss that I am pregnant the first option I was given, was abortion. We stepped out of the room, we spoke for 5 minutes went back in, and I was so afraid, so confused. I had no clue what to do.”

After the abortion she was escorted to the recovery room by a nurse. She was “sobbing” because she was in so much pain and the nurse said to her, “You silly girl, don’t you know what you’ve done?”.

Laura said how that put a shockwave through her system and made her so depressed.

“[W]hen I left that clinic, that was the beginning of my nightmare.” she added

Laura went on to say that since then, she has come to terms with her abortion, and it was the recognition of what abortion really is, that helped her in her healing process.

Dr Calum Miller, also on the program, said that: “Often the medical profession hides behind euphemistic terminology… people know its a baby, whereas often it’s described as ‘products of conception’, or ‘a pregnancy’ or ‘pregnancy tissue’.

Dr Miller’s claims are evidenced by the fact that Marie Stopes International, the abortion provider who failed to fully inform Laura of the reality of abortion, in fact uses these terms on their own website and in their own literature.

Clare McCarthy from Right To Life UK said:

“Sadly, what happened to Laura, the pressure she was under and the offer of an abortion as the default option, is all too familiar. She is right to ask why is it that what actually happens in an abortion is kept such a secret. She is right to feel let down by Marie Stopes who did not fully inform her about what would happen to her baby.”

“The truth is that abortion providers do hide behind euphemistic language to conceal the reality of what they’re doing. The abortion doctor even confirmed this on the show saying that when informing patients before an abortion, they “don’t want to frighten patients”, making it quite clear that if they did explain the truth, it would horrify these women.” 

“Women like Laura deserve the truth about abortion and more women like her need the opportunity to speak out and share their story of the hurt caused by abortion.”