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BBC criticised for running 'disturbing' abortion poll

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The BBC has been criticised for running a poll asking listeners of its Radio 4 drama, The Archers, to vote on whether two of its characters should opt for an abortion.

The poll relates to a storyline about a middle-aged couple, Mike and Vicky Turner, who were recently informed that their unborn child would suffer from Down’s syndrome. 

The show’s Facebook page, which allows listeners to engage with the show through a weekly poll, featured the question: “Mike and Vicky’s dilemma makes up this week’s vote: should they go through with the pregnancy?”

But fans of the show complained that the BBC was trivialising a serious and complex issue, describing the poll as “offensive” and “disturbing”.

One listener said: “What a disgusting poll to run”, whilst another called for the poll to be removed:

“I was very surprised when I saw this poll. The storyline is hard, the considerations are complex and any decision will be fraught with doubts - not a scenario which can be answered by yes/no, by people who have never been there. Please remove this poll.”


Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, stated:

“Abortion is a serious issue with serious consequences.  It should not be trivialised as a source of entertainment.

“This poll will be particularly offensive to the thousands of men and women with Down’s Syndrome who lead happy, healthy and productive lives, as well as to their friends, families, carers and neighbours. 

“Every human life is unique, precious and valuable, and all life should be protected from conception until natural death.  Unfortunately, this poll is a sad reflection of our national broadcaster’s failure to acknowledge this reality.”