Reviews The Press

Making mischief over abortion

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 24 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:735
  1. Geoff Watts, freelance medical journalist (
  1. London

How one paper seems to want it to become an election issue

On abortion the Independent knows exactly where it stands: “The last thing British politics needs before an election is a debate over abortion.” So ran the title of its first leader on 16 March.

Er… yes. But flip back to page one of that day's paper and you begin to wonder if the news editor was operating their own agenda. In a bid to do something distinctive with its front page, the Independent often devotes it to a polemicised take on one aspect of the news. On 16 March its choice was… abortion. And so that there can be no mistaking just how strongly the paper feels about the importance of not making abortion an issue, it followed the front page lead with two further articles by its health and political staff. Surely the simplest way of discouraging an ill timed debate is not to join it?

In fairness to the Independent its stories were triggered by an event not of its own …

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