BBC breaches impartiality rules after it broadcast comments branding Theresa May a "coward" for not challenging the DUP's pro-life stance.

‘The News Quiz’ Radio programme on BBC 4 has been found guilty of breaching impartiality rules after it broadcast comments branding Theresa May a "coward" for not challenging the DUP’s pro-life stance.

Scottish comedian Susan Calman, during a broadcast of the News Quiz show, said, "Unless she steps in, that is one part of the United Kingdom where not only gay people, but also women, don't have the same rights as other parts of the United Kingdom," said Calman. Addressing a discussion on whether Mrs May was a feminist, the comedian said the issue was essentially about women having "equal rights".

She added: "What she is, is a coward."

A complaint made to the BBC was subsequently upheld by its internal watchdog, the Executive Complaints Unit. It said the programme had failed to meet the corporation's standards of impartiality given that the "tone and controversial context" of Calman's comments had been made with "no acknowledgement of an alternative view". This, it acknowledged, resulted in the News Quiz going "beyond the bounds of due impartiality as it applies to programmes of this kind".

Calman’s satirical remarks are not only incredibly insensitive and unfunny but downright unintelligent. To compare abortion and “gay people” is completely absurd. Abortion is a life or death issue. She speaks of women having “equal rights.” Abortion has nothing to do with equality and nothing to do with human rights. True equality would allow every person to be born regardless of stage of development, circumstances of conception, predicted lifespan, gender, race or disability.

There is no human right to abortion under any international legal treaty, convention or instrument including the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In fact, no one should have the right to determine whether someone else lives or dies.  

True feminism would not kill unborn women.

The DUP’s pro-life stance is pro-science, pro-woman and anti-violence. Every scientific textbook and all medical literature will state that life begins at conception. There is no other logical or scientific starting point to human life than conception. The baby’s heart starts beating between 16 and 21 days. Furthermore, it is a biological fact that an unborn baby is not part of the woman’s body. An unborn baby is in the woman’s body. Dependency should not change the value of a human life.  

Abortion hurts women. There is nothing progressive, compassionate or liberating about abortion. It has detrimental physical, emotional and psychological effects on women. Abortion is an incredibly tyrannical, barbaric and violent act. Women need real healthcare and life-affirming pregnancy support and counselling services.

Calman compares Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the UK and one of the lowest worldwide. It is one of the safest place for pregnant women and for their preborn children. Since 1967, the UK has killed over 9 million babies through abortion, including 90% of babies prenatally diagnosed with disabilities, like Down's syndrome, and that would even include unborn babies with cleft palate and lips. These are easily reversed conditions with minor surgery. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, safeguards women and their unborn babies in law, policy and practice.

There is nothing cowardly about respecting the viewpoints of a party that respects and upholds the fundamental rights of all their citizens, born and unborn. It is however very cowardly to make satirical, uneducated comments about killing unborn babies.  

« Back to Blog