Midwife Means "With Woman": 'Call the Midwife' and the History of Abortion in England
in History, by Janet Mullany
It’s 1964 and things are changing in Poplar on Call the Midwife.
A dad actually asks to be at the, ah, interesting end of his child’s birth and is firmly put in his place, and more women want to give birth in hospitals. Hemlines are rising as Britain becomes a fashion powerhouse. Yet some things just don’t change. As now, an obsession with royal births rules (and if you really want to know, apparently bets are now at 1:2 that Meghan and Harry’s baby will be a girl, with the top name predicted to be Diana. Yes, British bookies do big business during royal pregnancies). And sadly, not every birth is joyfully anticipated, and many women, particularly poor women in an area like Poplar, have few options for help.
Call The Midwife viewers in tears as finale deals with illegal abortion story
The series has raised awareness of the issue of backstreet abortions.
By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent
March 3 2019
Call The Midwife’s eighth series came to an end with a tear-jerking close to the illegal abortion storyline.
The latest series of the BBC drama about midwives in the East End in the 1960s has shone a light on the issue.
Caitlin Moran: let’s be upfront about abortion
‘Abortion is not “contentious”; it has been used by aunts, bosses, teachers and this columnist’
Feb 23, 2019
Three weeks ago, an episode of Call the Midwife, set in the pre-Abortion Act world of 1962, centred on a pregnant woman who sought out a back-street termination, then died from complications.
When any broadcaster puts out a show dealing with life-changing issues, we know what the usual protocol is. An announcement over the closing credits, as we sigh, shiver or palm tears from our face: “For anyone affected by the issues in tonight’s show, there is help and information on our website.”
(Two pro-choice letters at link)
BBC’s Action Line adds abortion information, but it’s hard to find
Corporation’s view that procedure is ‘contentious’ is nothing new
Tue 19 Feb 2019
Sadly the BBC’s view that legal abortion is a “contentious” issue is nothing new (BBC under fire over failure to offer abortion information on Action Line, 15 February).
More than a year ago I was invited to take part in a World at One broadcast “to celebrate” 50 years of legal abortion in Britain. During telephone conversations about arrangements, I learned that an anti abortion MP (who recently, in the House of Commons, made the opposition speech during a 10-minute rule bill designed to update the outdated 1967 legislation) was also invited.
BBC provides abortion information after Call the Midwife row
BBC had said it could not offer advice because abortion was a ‘contentious’ issue
Sun 17 Feb 2019
The BBC has said it will give viewers information about abortion after it was criticised following an episode of the popular drama Call the Midwife.
Women complained that no information was provided on the BBC Action Line after an episode, broadcast this month, in which a patient died following an illegal backstreet abortion.
BBC drops ban on giving abortion advice after Call the Midwife row
Caroline Wheeler and Nicholas Hellen
February 17 2019
The BBC has bowed to pressure to provide viewers with information about abortion after two ministers intervened in a row sparked by an episode of the drama series Call the Midwife.
Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, and Jackie Doyle-Price, a health minister, wrote to the BBC to complain about its initial refusal to provide information about terminations after the February 3 episode in which a character died after a backstreet abortion.
The BBC should treat abortion as a healthcare procedure, not just a plot point for Call the Midwife
The BBC, rightly, has links on its website to advice from organisations like Stonewall, Mind and Beat. So why did it refuse to link to abortion advice?
15 February 2019
By Glosswitch, BBC
As the saying goes, you can’t be a little bit pregnant: you’re either gestating a new life at enormous cost and potential risk to your physical and mental wellbeing, or you’re not. As far as this experience goes, there is no middle ground.
Similarly, you’re either in favour of women being forced to remain pregnant against their will, or you’re not. The alternative to safe, legal abortion is not the absence of abortion; it’s the torture of compulsory gestation, or it’s illegal, unsafe abortion. There is no neutral option, no world in which unwanted pregnancies must neither continue nor end.
BBC condemned for 'completely outdated' abortion position by women’s healthcare organisations
'We were absolutely shocked by corporation's stance,' says spokesperson for UK’s largest provider
Maya Oppenheim, Women's Correspondent @mayaoppenheim
Feb 13, 2019
Women’s healthcare organisations have voiced outrage over the BBC's “completely outdated” position on abortion after the broadcaster failed to provide information on its website because the issue was deemed too "contentious".
The furore surfaced after last week’s episode of period drama Call the Midwife in which one of the characters died as a result of complications from an illegal “backstreet” abortion.
Call the Midwife star Jennifer Kirby reveals abortion storyline will continue in future episodes
[This series is on Netflix]
By Eleanor Bley Griffiths
Monday, 14th January 2019
“When you’re there and you’re filming the scenes, it’s always more shocking than you’d think,” says Jennifer Kirby.
She’s talking about the first episode of Call the Midwife series eight, where her character Nurse Valerie Dyer decides to help a desperate woman miscarrying after a backstreet abortion. “I don’t care how this has come about, I’m going to help you, do you hear me?” she says.
Call The Midwife to focus on abortion after drama faced criticism over pre-watershed termination
12 January 2019
The new series of Call The Midwife will focus on abortion after it sparked complaints by showing an illegal termination before the watershed.
Executive producer Dame Pippa Harris revealed abortion will be a central theme throughout the eighth installment of the period drama, which follows a group of nurses in London's East End, when it returns to BBC One on Sunday.