Panorama hatchet job attacks pro-life pregnancy centre

A BBC documentary has branded a north-east pro-life pregnancy centre ‘coercive’, ‘manipulative’ and ‘deceptive’, while refusing to provide any meaningful right of reply.

Tyneside Pregnancy Advice Centre (TPAC) in Newcastle, which has been running for 14 years, operates with a Christian ethos and offers women advice about their pregnancies while being clear it does not provide abortions. One of its advisors was secretly recorded as part of a Panorama investigation broadcast last night.

The BBC’s flagship investigative series allowed pro-abortion groups to critique the advice given in the covert footage and dismiss it without challenge, but edited out most of TPAC’s response. The centre said the BBC’s “activist production team” had acted in “bad faith” in an attempt to discredit its work.


One of the guests called on to provide independent analysis by Panorama was Dr Jonathan Lord, UK Medical Director of abortion giant MSI Reproductive Choices.

Formerly operating as Marie Stopes International, it rebranded in 2020 as part of an attempt to distance itself from its founder’s openly racist and eugenicist beliefs and practices. Operating in 37 countries, MSI is one of the largest abortion providers in the world, and has been accused of performing illegal abortions in Africa.

The programme also featured Katherine O’Brien, Associate Director of Communications of Campaigns at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), MSI’s main competitor in the commercial abortion market.

In 2020, the Care Quality Commission found serious issues with two BPAS clinics, including “inadequate” leadership and putting women “at risk of infection”. BPAS has called for abortion to be made legal for any reason up to birth and accused women of ‘fabricating’ post-abortion trauma.

Ultrasounds ‘unethical’

Ultrasounds are one of the most frequently requested services at the centre, but this was labelled a ‘tactic’ by Katherine O’Brien, who accused centres like TPAC  of trying “to force women to listen to the heartbeat or see an ultrasound image in order to prevent her from undergoing an abortion”.

In a letter to the centre prior to broadcast, Eleanor Layhe, a producer for BBC News, relayed that one of its ‘experts’ regarded the use of an ultrasound scanning machine as “manipulative and deceitful”, and that overall the session was “manipulative and unethical”.

Layhe also attempted to draw a link between TPAC and what she called “American anti-abortion groups”, asking the organisation what funding and training the centre and its staff had received from the US.

‘Conspiracy theories’

In the full written response overlooked by the BBC, Director Chris Richards, an NHS paediatrician, explained: “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.

“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.

“Our staff member quickly realised 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 organisation. TPAC has never received any funding from US anti-abortion groups, and the BBC ought to know better than to peddle conspiracy theories.”

Also see:


Panorama documentary exposes abortion practices

US National Archives apologises for targeting pro-lifers’ free speech

Supreme Court backs NI abortion censorship zones outlawing silent prayer

US court orders airline to reinstate flight attendant sacked for pro-life views

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