Viewers 'manipulated' by BBC Panorama

Precious Life respond to BBC Panorama's - “Crisis pregnancy centres uncovered“

The BBC describes Panorama as its “flagship current affairs programme” claiming it is an “Investigative documentary series revealing the truth about the stories that matter.”

However their latest episode (27 Feb 2023) - “Crisis pregnancy centres uncovered“ - used laden language to give false and misleading information about crisis pregnancy centres. 

The programme’s producer was Eleanor Layhe and the reporter was Divya Talwar.

Panorama manipulated and misled viewers to believe their presupposition that killing babies by abortion is normal and acceptable; and that abortion providers are reputable and honest people while crisis pregnancy centre volunteers are disreputable and dishonest.

Rather than openly interview volunteers at the centres, Panorama decided to conduct undercover filming with hidden cameras.

However, Panorama didn’t do any uncover filming of what really happens in an abortion centre.

And Panorama didn’t speak to any women who have been adversely affected by abortion.

But the programme did include contributions from pro-abortionists who work for organisations that make £millions from killing babies in the womb.

The abortion providers hate the work that crisis pregnancy centres do. Every baby saved from abortion, is money lost to their bank accounts.

This Panorama programme showed the abortion industry clutching their purse strings …and the BBC clutching at straws.

   Speaking against the pregnancy centres was so-called “Doctor” Jonathan Lord, Jo Holmes, and Katherine O’Brien.

Katherine O’Brien is Associate Director of BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) – who kill thousands of babies in the womb every year. Panorama reporter Divya Talwar admitted BPAS are “…one of the UK’s main abortion providers.” BPAS charge women £480 to kill their unborn baby up to 10 weeks and £1510 to kill unborn babies at 24 weeks.

Jo Holmes is from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). During the programme she made a medically untrue statement about pregnant women when she gave her unprofessional opinion that “…it’s not a baby when you have a choice.”

Jonathan Lord is the medical director of Marie Stopes International (MSI) Reproductive Choices UK - another of the UK’s largest abortion providers that makes £millions from killing babies in the womb.  In January of this year it was reported that other doctors called on the General Medical Council (GMC) to investigate Jonathan Lord, over a series of professional misconduct concerns, which include him ‘harassing’ and ‘scaring’ a vulnerable woman in a crisis pregnancy.

   Despite Panorama’s attempt to discredit pregnancy centres, they inadvertently let viewers hear the pro-life message.

The word “baby” was used numerous times.

Labelling an NHS paediatrician - Dr Chris Richards –  as having “anti-abortion views” they also showed his presentation of a living baby moving in an ultrasound scan. Viewers heard him explain the baby’s heartbeat appears at 3 weeks. His statement that over 1,200 women had benefited from the work of pro-life staff and volunteers was also aired.

In reference to the dangers of infections to women caused by abortions, Jonathan Lord admitted, “Yes, it’s always a risk”. In response to the fact that women who take the abortion pill have to pass the baby at home down the toilet, he admitted, “well it is true that the process of having a medical abortion is worse than having a heavy period.”

Panorama also contacted Stanton in the USA and questioned their chief operating officer Danielle Versluys for over an hour and a half. However they only aired a few minutes of what she said. But Danielle was able to state, "Within our clinics, women are advised that having an abortion could lead to lifelong grief, sorrow, regret and it can impact them negatively." Defending Stanton's use of ultrasound scans, she said, "The truth should not be hidden from women... to provide a medical scan... is absolutely acceptable and called for and necessary for a woman to make an informed choice." Mrs Versluys concluded, "We are committed to providing women with the truth and with the resources that they need to make the best possible decisions for them and their baby."

And despite Panorama’s attempt to discredit Stanton Healthcare Belfast, reporter Divya Talwar conceded Stanton’s website says “it’s a safe place where women are empowered to make their best choice".

   Before going undercover, Panorama spoke to a woman called Ashleigh who contacted Stanton in Belfast after discovering she was pregnant in 2021.

The mother-of-five was given an ultrasound scan which showed she was pregnant with twins.

Ashleigh said on air - “I saw two wee babies on the screen."

Sadly, Panorama revealed Ashleigh had went ahead with an abortion.

Ashleigh said “…mentally, after that, I don’t think I’ve ever been the same.”

Throughout the programme, Panorama and their pro-abortion contributors had tried to deny that abortion has any harmful effects on women’s mental health. Yet they alleged it was Ashleigh’s experience of seeing “two wee babies” on an ultrasound scan that had left her traumatised.

Jonathan Lord then proceeded to criticise the use of ultra-sound scans at pregnancy centres claiming they were “intrusive”. Jo Holmes exclaimed that a baby on an ultrasound scan was “…the last thing you’d want to see.”

Panorama then exploited a pregnant woman called Claire to secretly film in Stanton’s Belfast centre.

To add some drama to their otherwise boring programme, Panorama showed footage of Claire with Eleanor Layhe and Divya Talwar in a car slowly driving past Stanton in Belfast, with tense, menacing music playing in the background. Divya Talwar exclaimed, “Look! The windows are COMPLETELY blacked out, you can’t see anything”. What she failed to mention is the fact that the window has been tinted for over 10 years – long before Stanton moved into the premises.

Panorama only showed a few minutes of heavily edited portions of their secret recording in Stanton Belfast.

However, Panorama had to admit that Claire was also told that the centre provided aftercare and financial help to women who went ahead with their pregnancies.

When Claire got back into the car with Panorama’s Divya Talwar, a leaflet was produced containing  images of babies killed by abortion. Claire said the images were scary and she didn’t want to even look at them because they were “babies that are aborted.” Divya Talwar replied in shock “I can’t even look at it”. She then said “the images are too graphic to show” and the images were blurred out. The question must be asked – if BBC Panorama’s presupposition that abortion is so normal and acceptable, why did they censor images of abortion?

The images were shown to Jonathan Lord and Jo Holmes.  Jo Holmes admitted “It’s pretty horrible isn’t it?” Jonathan Lord – from Marie Stopes that kills thousands of babies by abortion – said that showing pictures in a leaflet of aborted babies was “cruelty …it's just so cruel.” He completely ignored the cruelty that had been inflicted on the babies in the pictures.

   Stanton Belfast was contacted by Panorama after they recorded the footage with their hidden camera. Stanton provided the programme producer Eleanor Layhe with testimonies of satisfied women who had been helped by Stanton in Belfast. Stanton asked the producer - in the interests of balanced journalism - that the testimonies be included in the programme.

Panorama refused to air the women’s testimonies.

Stanton Healthcare Belfast also provided the producer with medical references for all their information on the physical and emotional harm caused to women by abortion.

Panorama again refused to include these references in the programme.

   Panorama kept their biggest “discovery” for the final section of the programme.

Once again, with the tense, menacing music playing and the camera slowly zooming in, they showed a woman called “Iris”. Reporter Divya Talwar then proclaimed she had “discovered her name was Bernadette Smyth, founder of Precious Life, one of the largest anti-abortion campaign groups in Northern Ireland”.

However this ‘amazing discovery’ then fell flat when Divya Talwar had to admit that Bernadette told  her that Iris is her middle name and there was nothing misleading about using it.

   In conclusion, this episode of Panorama was a complete waste of license payers’ money. All that the BBC’s “flagship investigative documentary current affairs programme” achieved was to ‘uncover’ that pregnancy centres offer genuine life-affirming help and support to women and their babies.



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