London Daily Mail Newspaper Pulls Account of Women Regretting Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 12, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

London Daily Mail Newspaper Pulls Account of Women Regretting Abortion

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by Matthew Balan
September 12, 2007 Note: Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 2003, and worked for the Heritage Foundation from 2003 until 2006, and for Human Life International in 2006. This article originally appeared in NewsBusters.

The Daily Mail, which seemingly has a reputation for being a "conservative" newspaper in the UK, has performed an act of self-censorship. An article in the September 12 edition of Britain’s second most-popular newspaper featured the accounts of seven British women who had abortions. It appeared in both the web and print editions of the newspaper.

Dawn Eden of the popular Dawn Patrol blog highlighted one woman’s account on Tuesday night, in which she gave a graphic description of her abortion. By Wednesday morning, the account had been removed from the web edition of the article on the Daily Mail’s website.

Daily Mail correspondents Eimear O’Hagan and Ruth Kelly wrote the article for the 40th anniversary of the UK’s Abortion Act, which legalized abortion up to the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy. Four of the women interviewed for the article expressed their regrets for their abortions, and three expressed no regrets.

One of those who expressed no regrets was 22-year-old Ashleigh Taylor of South London, who is a "television researcher." She described the circumstances of her pregnancy, and gave a detailed description of her forced-labor abortion.

By the time I had the abortion, I was 15 weeks and two days pregnant. I went into hospital with my best friend for moral support, and the nurse gave me tablets to bring on labour. Because I was so far into the pregnancy, I had to give birth rather than have a straightforward abortion.

It was horrendous. After two hours the contractions started, and I clung onto the hand of the midwife. Once I felt the baby starting to come, I had to go into the toilet and let it drop onto a stainless steel tray.

"Don’t look," said the midwife. "Keep your eyes straight in front of you and walk away immediately." There was no way I could have looked down and seen my baby. I was numb.

The print edition of the above article, including Ms. Taylor’s account, can be still be found on the Daily Mail’s website on their "E-editions" page. However, the web edition of the article no longer includes it. Since viewing the "E-editions" page on the Daily mail website requires registering, Ken Shepherd and myself sent Dawn Eden a screen capture of the print edition, which now appears on her blog.

Since the Daily Mail has a "conservative" reputation, it seems bizarre that they would remove a truthful account of an abortion, even though the woman who gave the account doesn’t regret her abortion. The newspaper has a circulation of over 2.3 million, so if the goal was to self-censor the account, the fact that it had already gone to print runs counter to that goal.