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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Pro-life anger at 'scum' slur
Election candidates for the anti-abortion Pro-Life Alliance have criticised a senior official of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) for describing them as "vile scum".
Director of communications for the BPAS Ann Furedi confirmed to BBC Wales that she stands by "every word" of her attack on the Alliance, which is putting up seven candidates in Wales.
Ms Furedi said she thought her description was actually "quite moderate".
She made her comments in an article for the online political website 'spiked!' in response to the successful BBC Wales court challenge to the Alliance's plans for a party election broadcast featuring graphic images.
Supporting the group's right to show the broadcast, she said: "It is also a shame that by banning a party political broadcast, the BBC also forces some of us who consider the Pro-Life Alliance to be vile scum to defend their right to put their case in the way they choose."
Ms Furedi also describes Alliance members as "dishonest, manipulative, irrational, ignorant fanatics who patronise women..."
Alliance candidate Madeline Jeremy said: "I wonder if she had to use these words because she couldn't defend herself against what we are saying."
Ms Jeremy went on to say she was "amazed and shocked" that Ms Furedi would "go down to that level".
"We've obviously rattled them," she said.
Ms Furedi said she stood by the article, and pointed out that she was supporting the Alliance's right to free speech.
Reflecting on her comments, she said: "I actually think that's quite a moderate way of describing people who are standing on a ticket of trying to prevent women their right to end pregnancy."
She said she had had her own home address put up on the web "with the suggestion that people make their views known to me".
Ms Furedi said the BPAS was a charity and did not advocate a vote for or against any particular candidate.
But Josephine Quintavallee, a founder of the Alliance, claimed that the BPAS received government funding because it organises abortions which are sub-contracted by the NHS.
She said the BPAS were shooting themselves in the foot with such comments.
"You can't call people who are trying to defend life vile scum. The more that they do that the more they help us," she said.
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