19/03/2011 23:03 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Broadcaster Says She Would Smother A Sick Child And Abortion Can Be A 'Selfless Act'

Broadcaster and agony aunt Virginia Ironside shocked television viewers yesterday after claiming she would 'suffocate' a child to end its suffering.

Ms Ironside, speaking on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live show told the audience: 'If a baby's going to be born severely disabled or totally unwanted, surely an abortion is the act of a loving mother. If I were the mother of a suffering child - I mean a deeply suffering child - I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face... If it was a child I really loved, who was in agony, I think any good mother would.'

The controversial writer added that abortion can also be an 'unselfish' act, telling the show's host Susanna Reid:
'Abortion can often be seen as something wicked and irresponsible, but in fact it can be a moral and unselfish act... Sometimes the decision of a good mother is not to have the child.'

The presenter looked shocked by Ironside's comments, replying: 'That's a pretty horrifying thing to say, that you would put a pillow over a suffering child.' Fellow guest, vicar Joanna Jepson, who campaigned against the late abortion of a 28 week old foetus with a cleft lip and palate, looked equally horrified.

Ms Ironside's appearance on the programme resulted in a flurry of complaints from viewers on its website, and from disability campaigners and religious groups. GP Peter Evans, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: 'For us to make judgments that people are not worth life, not worth the opportunity to live, is a very dangerous thing.'

What do you think?
Do you agree with Virginia or were her comments totally unacceptable?