In a move that tarnishes its reputation as a highly respected and impartial publication, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has awarded the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) the ‘Women’s Health’ award for their role in overseeing the telemedical scheme that provides DIY home abortions in Britain.
The practice of allowing at home abortions was introduced last year during the onset of Covid-19 and has been continued despite all the concerns raised about the risks associated with DIY abortions and women not having face-to-face consultations with their doctor before the abortion.
Since its introduction, there has been a significant increase in ambulance call-outs in Britain to women suffering physical complications after taking the unsupervised abortion pills at home, leading to a number of senior politicians, including Baroness Philippa Stroud, calling for the immediate suspension of the practice.
The decision of the BMJ to give an award to BPAS on such a heated and contested subject shows incredibly poor judgement on their part and diminishes the credibility of the journal as a rigorously independent and trusted publication.
Earlier this week, in reply to a parliamentary question from Carol Nolan TD, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that the practice of DIY home abortions in Ireland will be “reviewed” after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The minister’s reply signals an unacceptable shift in policy from the position last year of his predecessor that the practice would be “suspended” once Covid restrictions end. Any attempt by the Government to row back on its original commitment must be strongly resisted.