Prolife Alliance to take on censors

Election Countdown: Anti-abortion debate: Fledgling party unveils pictures of dead babies it wants to use in TV broadcast
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The Independent Online
Anti-abortionists who plan to fight the election in at least 50 constituencies yesterday unveiled the graphic pictures of dead babies they want to televise in an election broadcast.

The Prolife Alliance said it would challenge any attempt to censor the scenes because it was "important that the reality is shown". Bruno Quintavalle, its director, said it was entitled to have its views aired on television because it will be fielding enough candidates to qualify for a broadcast slot.

He could see no justification for not showing the film of aborted foetuses. "We have already been seeing a lot of very horrifying footage - scenes from Rwanda, Bosnia and other atrocities that the public felt important was seen," he said.

The clips come from a nine-minute American film with footage from a Texas abortion clinic. Individual limbs and heads as well as whole foetuses are clearly visible.

The alliance is standing on an "absolutist" platform whereby all abortion should be banned, although an exception would be made if the woman's life was at risk. Mr Quintavalle, a 25-year-old philosophy graduate, said: "We don't believe that abortion is any solution in a civilised world. It's not about presenting a package of compromises. There is no way we can ascribe some magical date after which human life has a value it didn't have before." The alliance wanted to get "the truth" debated openly, he said. "The nation is in denial about abortion. It is important that if people are going to support abortion they are aware of what it entails."

Dr Michael Jarmulowicz, a consultant pathologist, said he had come across many women who had been traumatised by abortion. "I think people need to know before hand what they are letting themselves in for."

The alliance estimates that its campaign will cost less than pounds 100,000 and will be funded by individual donations. Many of its candidates are Muslim or Catholic, although it has no official ties with any faith. Tory ministers Douglas Hogg, Virginia Bottomley and Sir George Young and Labour MPs Jack Cunningham and Margaret Hodge are among those who will face a prolife candidate. Jane Nielsen, 30, a Catholic from Liverpool, said she had decided to stand because too frequently ordinary people did not speak out.

A BBC spokesman said any party which was fielding 50 candidates qualified for a party political broadcast slot. However, all broadcasts had to meet its standards of taste and decency. They must not be "offensive to public feeling". Similarly, the ITV network and Channel 4 must follow the Independent Television Commission code on taste and decency.