The Nuffield Foundation’s offices look directly on to the part of Bedford Square where large placards are displayed and two silently praying anti-abortion protestors stand outside of the BPAS clinic. They are a chilling reminder that we still cannot take for granted a woman’s right to choose and of a religious right wing that is challenging for power in the US and threatening to gather momentum here. There is something very scary in the air at the moment. In the donor conception world it feels as if knowledge and experience of the psycho-social needs of families and donor conceived people is being squeezed out to make way for a breathtakingly cynical pragmatism and appeasement of the fertility industry. I can say no more at the moment but watch this space. The news is not nice.
I mention the Nuffield Foundation and Bedford Square because Walter and I were there this morning to meet with Dr. Katherine Wright, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bio-Ethics working party on Donor Conception and Information and it’s communications officer Catherine Johnson. Prior to going in to this meeting we were handed the letter from Sharon Witherspoon telling us how much the Nuffield Foundation trustees were prepared to grant us. It’s not what we wanted but it’s a great start. Thank you Nuffield. A small oasis of good news in a pretty bad week.
Katherine Wright was enormously welcoming and we had a good meeting. We brought a sample pack of all the books, booklets and films we produce and suggested that all working party members should be familiar with these before a delegation from DC Network comes to give evidence to them on 27th April. The questions that will form the basis of the consultation should be publicly available next week and they will be calling for evidence from all interested parties but first of all actively seeking the views of donor conceived people and parents. We cannot do anything but co-operate with this working party but their reasons for not including us amongst their number remain, as far as I am personally concerned, incomprehensible.
The receptionist at Nuffield told us that the anti-abortion protestors had been accosting women as they went into the clinic as well as keeping a silent vigil. As we left the building we, politely but forcefully, told the demonstrators that we found their presence there offensive and that we were praying they would leave!