Virginia Ironside horrified viewers by saying that she would be willing to smother a sick child and by describing abortion as a “moral”, “unselfish” act of a loving mother.
Watch Miss Ironside’s comments on smothering a sick child
Watch Miss Ironside’s comments on abortion
Members of the public have slammed Miss Ironside’s shocking comments which were made on yesterday’s episode of the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live programme.
Miss Ironside, an agony aunt at The Independent, said: “If I were the mother of a suffering child – I mean a deeply suffering child – I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face… If it was a child I really loved, who was in agony, I think any good mother would.”
But Dr Peter Evans, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, cautioned: “For us to make judgements that people are not worth life, not worth the opportunity to live, is a very dangerous thing.”
During the show the mother-of-one also claimed that it was better to abort an unborn baby than to let a disabled or unwanted child live a life of emotional or physical suffering.
She said: “If a baby’s going to be born severely disabled or totally unwanted, surely an abortion is the act of a loving mother.”
She added: “Abortion can often be seen as something wicked and irresponsible, but in fact it can be a moral and unselfish act… Sometimes the decision of a good mother is not to have the child.”
But Clair Lewis, a disability campaigner, cautioned: “The problems that disabled people face will not be fixed by killing off unborn children.”
Outraged viewers left a number of complaints on the programme’s website.
One viewer said: “I was disgusted when she said about stifling a child – it will NEVER be okay to stifle a disabled child, how can she suggest that a child’s quality of life can be so bad that they would be better off dead?”
And another viewer said: “How on earth has this woman been able to put such views care of the BBC, it is despicable?”
Miss Ironside’s comments were made during a debate on the show entitled “Can abortion be a kindness?”.
In February the BBC faced allegations of pursuing an “incredibly zealous” campaign in favour of assisted suicide from a group led by Lord Carlile.
The Care Not Killing Alliance accused the BBC of providing “biased” coverage on the issue, after it broadcast Sir Terry Pratchett’s lecture encouraging “euthanasia tribunals”.
Lord Carlile, chairman of the Alliance, said the BBC was breaking impartiality rules and adopting a “campaigning stance” to increase pressure on the Government to legalise assisted suicide.
A cross-party group of MPs also accused the BBC of showing “persistent bias” in favour of euthanasia.
The criticism followed two programmes broadcast by the BBC on the same night which supported assisted suicide.
Over 20 MPs signed an Early Day Motion which accused the corporation of conducting a “multi-million pound campaign” to promote euthanasia.
The MPs, led by Conservative Ann Winterton, also charged the BBC with ignoring the rights of disabled people.