**Warning: This article contains discussions about abortion which some readers may find distressing.**


Lily Slater (Lillia Turner) came to a decision about her future in tonight's EastEnders (20th January), telling parents Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) and Martin Fowler (James Bye) that she was going to have an abortion.

Stacey and family were shocked when a doctor revealed that 12-year-old Lily was pregnant, and the youngster later explained that school pal Ricky Mitchell Jr (Frankie Day) was the father. Already struggling for money, Stacey began to worry about having yet another mouth to feed.

But Lily wouldn't be rushed, and Stacey agreed. Martin, however, felt that they should persuade Lily to choose a termination. Having raised Lily since she was very young, Martin told Stacey a story about how he and Lily used to play a game to decide what she wanted to be when she grows up. He pointed out that this was only three years ago, and that Lily's future would change forever if she chose to have this baby.

Stacey understood, but insisted once more that only Lily could decide what she wanted to do. Stacey added that her late first husband, Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements), pressured her into terminating her pregnancy several years earlier - a memorable EastEnders storyline which we'll delve into below.

Lacey Turner as a crying Stacey Slater in EastEnders.
Lacey Turner as Stacey Slater in EastEnders. BBC

Martin took Stacey's words on board, while Lily was seen spending time with her aunt, Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) - the sister of Lily's biological father Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott). Whit is also pregnant, although unaware of Lily's own situation. Lily showed an interest in Whitney's life, wondering how she would manage financially, and Lily was happy when she impressed Whitney on the market stall.

Later, Lily was at the playground when she overheard Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) asking Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) for advice over searching for her mother Emma (soon to be played by Patsy Kensit). Sharon advised caution, and her words struck a chord with Lily when she pointed out that giving away a child either comes with a wealth of regrets, or none at all.

A thoughtful Lily then returned home and told Martin and Stacey that she wasn't ready to be a mum - and so she wanted a termination. Will Lily stick to this decision?

Why did Bradley force Stacey's baby decision in EastEnders?

Back in 2006, Stacey and boyfriend Bradley were young and in love when she fell pregnant with his child. Stacey was shocked, but this gave way to excitement as she broke the news to Bradley. But Bradley didn't share these feelings, and, long before his dad Max (Jake Wood) caught Stacey's eye, Bradley sought him out for advice. Max spoke of his own fears as a first-time father, but ultimately told his son of the joy he had brought to his life.

But Bradley was haunted by Max's decision to walk out on him when he was just a child, and this led him to believe that history may repeat itself. Bradley insisted that Stacey should terminate her pregnancy, while Max paid her a visit and she accused him of turning Bradley against the idea of having a baby. Max denied this and, as Stacey planned to go through with an abortion, he urged her to stop and take the time to think.

Stacey didn't want to have the baby without Bradley's support, so the couple headed to a clinic. But ahead of the procedure, she made a final attempt to talk to Bradley about all the good points of becoming parents. But Bradley couldn't see past his own experiences and asked Stacey to stick to 'their' plan. Although he commented that it was her choice, Stacey was young and vulnerable and felt she might lose Bradley if she didn't do what he wanted, so she went ahead with the termination.

In the present, as single mother Stacey worried over Lily's situation, she confided in Martin that her first baby would now be 16. Musing over what her child could have been like, she remarked that they might have been mad about Doctor Who, much like Bradley.

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Stacey added that at the time, perhaps she would still have come to the decision to have an abortion. But she would never know because she hadn't been given the chance to think it through - something she was adamant she didn't want Lily to go through.

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can visit the British Pregnancy Advisory Service for more information and contact 03457 30 40 30 for support.

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