Broadcaster's 'hatchet job' on pro-life center refuted by investigation

 May 13, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

An attack by a major broadcaster on a pro-life pregnancy center that widely has been described as a "hatchet job" now has been refuted by a federal commission's formal investigation, which cleared the center.

The report comes from the Christian Institute in the United Kingdom and addresses the "hatchet job" done by the BBC on Tyneside Pregnancy Advice Center in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The broadcaster used excerpted recordings to claim the organization was using "coercion, manipulation and deception" in its presentation of factual information to women.

Now the Charity Commission has exonerated Tyneside, which has been run by Foundation for Life under Christian standards for nearly 15 years.

The institute explained, "In February last year, the BBC’s investigative series Panorama aired covert footage of one of the center's advisors and allowed pro-abortion groups to critique it without challenge, editing out most of TPAC’s response."

The resulting investigation by the Charity Commission now has been closed, exonerating the service, the report said.

"Ultrasounds are one of the most frequently requested services at the center, but during the program, British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s Katherine O’Brien accused centers like TPAC of 'forcing' women 'to listen to the heartbeat or see an ultrasound image in order to prevent her from undergoing an abortion,'" the report explained.

Eleanor Layhe, BBC producer, had complained to the center that one of its so-called "experts" on ultrasounds said they were being used as "manipulative and deceitful" and that the center was "manipulative and unethical."

The report explained Layhe also tried to create a link from TPAC to what she charged were "American anti-abortion groups."

TPAC responded to the charges, with director Chris Richards, an NHS pediatrician, explaining, "TPAC has a 14-year track record of compliance with all of its regulatory obligations. Over 1,200 women have benefitted from the work of our staff and volunteers"

In the final broadcast, the BBC ignored virtually all of those facts.

The center had been attacked during the network's Panorama programming.

"Panorama could have sought journalistic balance by approaching us directly. Instead, your activist production team chose the prejudicial medium of a secret recording to seek to discredit a registered charity that provides free services to women who request them," the BBC had been warned.

"Our staff member quickly realized the person she was dealing with was a bad faith actor. Anyone who reads our website can see where we are coming from. We are not a campaigning organization. TPAC has never received any funding from U.S. anti-abortion groups, and the BBC ought to know better than to peddle conspiracy theories."

When the attack first surfaced, the Christian Institute had labeled the BBC's plan a "hatchet job."

It pointed out at the time BBC gave airtime to "pro-abortion groups" who were critical of the pro-life center's operations – even existence. But the BBC ignored facts offered by the center itself about its operations.

The center's initial reaction was that the BBC was acting in "bad faith" through an "activist" production team.

For example, BBC gave pro-abortion activist Jonathan Lord, of the abortion industry giant MSI Reproductive Choices, airtime to talk about the pro-life center and its work.

His organization is one of the largest abortion industry operators in the world and, the report said, has been accused of performing illegal abortions in Africa.'

Also given screen time by BBC was Katherine O'Brien, of one of MSI's competitors in the commercial abortion market.

Her organization, called BPAS, was found in 2020 to be putting women "at risk of infection" in its operations.

O'Brien claimed that ultrasounds, a most frequently requested service, were being used to "force women to listen to the heartbeat or see an ultrasound image in order to prevent her from undergoing an abortion."

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