Late Late Show discussion on aborting babies with a terminal illness – 3-0 against the pro-life position

The Late Late Show featured the stories of three women who opted for abortion in situations where their babies were diagnosed with potentially life-limiting conditions.* The stories of parents who chose to keep their babies in similar situations (or parents who felt pressured to abort their child but didn’t) never featured in the programme at all.

The interview took place the same week that the first ever abortion Bill was debated in the Oireachtas. This made the interview unavoidably political.

The personal stories of the three women had every right to be heard but RTÉ also had an obligation to ensure the public was afforded the opportunity to hear both sides of the debate, particularly given the sensitivity and public controversy surrounding abortion.

The Late Late Show recently interviewed the new Master of the Rotunda Hospital.** The interview almost exclusively focussed on the case for abortion where parents receive a diagnosis that their baby may have a life-limiting condition. No attempt was made to discuss the obscene pressure that some parents are coming under from medics to abort their child in these situations or the heart-breaking reality of parents arriving home after aborting their child to learn for the first time upon their return of the existence of perinatal hospice care as an alternative to abortion. The reason parents don’t know about this positive and life-affirming approach is because of the almost exclusive media focus on abortion.

A month after the interview with the Master of the Rotunda, the Late Late Show interviewed a couple who chose not to abort their unborn baby diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. Unlike the previous two programmes, the presenter made it clear at the outset that this discussion would not focus on the abortion debate itself but just the personal story of the couple and their baby. This is classic RTÉ – conduct an interview to give the impression of balance and then talk around the issue scrupulously avoiding touching on any areas that challenge the pro-choice side or address the imbalance from the previous highly emotive and political Late Late Show interviews in favour of abortion.

RTÉ has no right to behave in this thoroughly disgraceful manner.

*Programme aired on 21st April 2012

** Programme aired on 8th January 2016

***Programme aired on 26th February 2016