ITV soap Emmerdale has highlighted the reality of women being coerced into having an abortion.
Emmerdale viewers expressed shock and disgust after recent scenes showed Mackenzie Boyd (played by actor Lawrence Robb) devise a sick plan with Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln) to trick Gabby Thomas (Rosie Bentham) into aborting her unborn baby.
The 19-year-old became pregnant with Jamie’s baby following a one night stand last month.
However, Jamie quickly told Gabby to forget about the evening they spent together. He then confessed his love to new partner Dawn Taylor (Olivia Bromley) and said he wanted to make their relationship work after she confronted him over the pregnancy.
Listening to Mackenzie’s advice, Jamie pretended to be in love with Gabby in order to “paint a picture” to the teenager of “how wonderful life could be” if they did not have a baby “just until she agrees to take a trip to the doctor” and have an abortion.
However, this week Gabby discovered the cruel, sick plan after she overheard Dawn and Jamie admitting their feelings for one another.
As she confronted Jamie over his lies, the teenager took a fall after feeling dizzy and called out to Jamie as she passed out clutching her stomach.
Michael Robinson, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children’s (SPUC) director of communications, said that the storyline had highlighted the “sick ploys” which involve manipulating and coercing pregnant women into having an abortion, stressing that they are not uncommon.
“The reality is that most women are pressurised or coerced in some way into an abortion decision, whether it be subtly, harshly, or somewhere between the two,” he said.
“A concerning 75 per cent of women who have contacted the Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH) have experienced some form of pressure or coercion, many not even recognising the coercion at the time.”
However, he noted that the Emmerdale storyline is “particularly shocking as it shows two young men trivialising pregnancy and abortion, leaving viewers unlikely to realise the devastating reality of abortion”.
“An unborn baby’s life is at stake as well as the mental wellbeing of a young woman,” he added.
Picture: Gabby (Rose Bentham) and Jamie (Alexander Lincoln) are at the centre of an abortion storyline that SPUC says is only too real for many women. (ITV).