A woman’s controversial views on abortion appeared to have Denise Van Outen choking back the tears on Loose Women this afternoon.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service), was on the show to discuss the question: Is it time we got rid of the 24-hour abortion limit?
According to Furedi, half of the women seen by BPAS feel that they’ve been let down by contraception, and it was her opinion that abortion is an acceptable “back-up”.
But the sensitive subject matter seemed to get to Van Outen, and at one point the 43-year-old actress and presenter looked visibly emotional.
Furedi told Van Outen and fellow panellists Gloria Hunniford, Christine Lampard and Coleen Nolan: “What we’re saying is abortion is to many, many women a back-up to their existing method of contraception.
“We’re not saying it should be used instead of, but we’re saying it’s a back-up.
“We need it to become a back-up, and we really should just be honest about it and stop making women feel as though they failed, when it is in fact their contraception which has let them down.”
At that point, mother-of-one Denise asked Furedi how she felt about gender selection being a reason to abort a baby.
Ann responded by saying: “My view is it should always be down to the woman to make the decision for herself, because she will live with that decision.
“You may disagree with the reasons, I may disagree with the reasons, but both of us can walk away at the end of the day.”
It was at that point that Denise began to well up, and for a moment she seemed lost for words.
Finally, after Coleen questioned whether Furedi’s suggestion might be open to abuse, Denise regained her composure.
“You know how naive some young people are,” she said. “I was like it myself. I used to think when I was kid that you could get pregnant from sitting on a toilet seat.”
And viewers seemed to err on the side of the former Big Breakfast host.
One tweeted: “I don’t mean to offend anyone but abortion makes me sick. Using it as birth control is appalling…use a bloody condom.”
Another added: “ALL women should have autonomy over their own body. But abortion is NOT a method of contraception.”
And a third viewer raged: “Can’t believe this lady on #loosewomen. Using abortion as a form of contraception or choosing gender is absolutely outrageous.”
Denise has a seven-year-old daughter, Betsy, with former husband Lee Mead.
But in a 2014 interview with The Telegraph, she suggested that she wished she’d had children at a younger age.
“Now I’m a mum myself and I’ve got a daughter, when she grows up and if she wants to have children, and if she’s in the right relationship, I’d encourage her to have children younger,” she explained.
“It’s nice to be a career woman. I love all the things I’ve been able to do. The little part of me that gets upset now is seeing my parents and knowing that they won’t be able to spend much time with my daughter.”