Anne Robinson: Why I had to speak about my abortion for documentary

Anne Robinson: Why I had to speak about my abortion for documentary

Anne Robinson: Why I had to speak about my abortion for documentary

Anne Robinson has said it was “out of the question” to not talk about her own abortion as part of new BBC Two documentary Abortion On Trial.

Marking 50 years since the Abortion Act was passed, the one-hour programme sees the TV presenter invite a group of nine people with conflicting views on the topic to her Gloucestershire home to share their personal stories.

Robinson, 73, said she felt talking about her own abortion was a necessary part of the filmmaking process.

Robinson invited a group of people into her home to share their views on abortion (BBC/RAW TV/Patrick Smith)
Robinson invited a group of people into her home to share their views on abortion (BBC/RAW TV/Patrick Smith)

Speaking at a Q&A event ahead of the film’s release, Robinson said: “How can I ask other people to do that… it was out of the question me keeping quiet myself.”

The film sees Robinson recall being newly-married and “very unhappy” when she had an abortion in 1968.

On whether she has talked much about the procedure before, Robinson said: “Interestingly (the abortion) is in my autobiography that came out in 2001 but, as somebody pointed out to me fairly recently, ‘you skip over it in a few paragraphs’.

“I was still in skip-over mode.”

Statistics show one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime, yet Robinson agreed that it continues to be a taboo subject.

“What astonishes me, is this talking about it, because I haven’t done that,” she said.

“Why is it that we talk about everything else, but this act has been there for 50 years and we’re still hesitant, and ashamed?”

Referencing one of the programme’s contributors, she added: “And, as Sally says, her granddad, what’s her granddad going to think?

“I was worried what my daughter would think.”

Robinson with her daughter Emma in 2013 (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Robinson with her daughter Emma in 2013 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The former Weakest Link host added: “And also the fact that, it’s one thing at the age I was then and shutting my eyes, but I’m 73, you know, I have (my daughter) Emma and I’ve got two wonderful grandchildren and of course your attitude is totally, totally different.

“It would be unthinkable for me now, absolutely unthinkable.”

In the programme, Robinson and her guests discuss whether the law – which was passed in 1967 – is fit for purpose in 2017.

They ask various questions about how the stance on abortion could be changed, including whether non-surgical abortions should be allowed at home or not.

Robinson said: “What I was surprised about was how much we all learnt from that film.

“I didn’t know anything about non-surgical abortions, I had absolutely no idea of women miscarrying in a loo in a bus terminal, with people banging on a door, and how much little sense that made in relation to the law made 50 years ago.”

Abortion On Trial airs on BBC Two on October 16.


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