Dinner party nervousness about pro-life views ‘shows British intolerance’

Middle-class embarrassment about people who believe life begins at conception shows how “intolerant social liberalism has become in modern Britain”, a columnist has warned.

Tom Utley wrote that his wife’s work with a pro-life campaign group is seen as akin to being racist – despite her views being shared by many worldwide.

But he said such work is valuable, particularly at a time when abortion is accepted almost without question in the UK.

‘Frisson of embarrassment’

Writing in the Daily Mail, Utley described how dinner table conversations grind to a halt when his wife says she works for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

“A frisson of embarrassment tends to grip the company, putting a dampener on the whole evening, as if she had confessed to working for the Ku Klux Klan.

“In fact, of course, my wife’s views on the moral value of human life, from the moment of conception to the grave, are shared by billions of people around the globe.”


He was writing in the wake of a local council banning pro-lifers from outside an abortion centre.

my wife’s views on the moral value of human life…are shared by billions of people around the globe.

Tom Utley

While the newspaper columnist said he could “understand the thinking behind the council’s order”, he said the advocates for the unborn are far from the “dangerous fanatics” they are sometimes portrayed to be.

Instead they “see it as their mission to show kindness to women who may be having doubts and to offer them practical help with alternatives — whether financial support, within their limited resources, or advice on putting babies up for adoption”.

Free expression

In fact at a time when abortion is “increasingly seen as an accepted and commonplace”, the pro-life campaigners might be the first time pregnant women meet someone “prepared to put the other side of the argument”.

Utley suggested that the ban should make “everyone brought up in our tradition of free expression feel uneasy”.

Earlier this week Ealing Council voted unanimously to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order around a Marie Stopes centre.

The ban was described as a “sad day for women”.

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