Prestigious British medical journal should not publish content from pro-abortion advocates as if it were objective research

By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

Editor’s note. This week’s final post of a story that appeared a year ago in NRL News Today illustrates the perennial problem of big-shot medical journals publishing the work of pro-abortion advocates without informing  the reader of their allegiances.

Prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal, the British Medical Journal (BMJ), has published the work of pro-abortion activists calling for Do It Yourself [DIY] abortion to be extended after the Coronavirus pandemic without declaring the authors’ involvement in pro-abortion campaigns.

“The BMJ is a global healthcare knowledge provider,” John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said. “It should not be providing a space for pro-abortion activists to promote their propaganda, without declaring their competing interest in abortion activism.”

The work of pro-abortion activists, Elizabeth Chloe Romanis and Jordan Parsons, appeared on the BMJ opinion page earlier this month. In their opinion piece, Romanis and Parsons “welcome” the new so-called “telemedical” (also known as DIY) abortion regulations, which allow women to obtain abortion drugs online and perform “terminations” at home with no direct medical supervision or support.

The new abortion regulations, implemented by the government last week, were intended to be a temporary measure in response to the Coronavirus crisis. Romanis and Parsons argue in their paper that “telemedical abortion should not be a temporary measure.”

At the bottom of their joint article, the authors’ credentials are given: Romanis is “a Wellcome PhD candidate in bioethics and medical jurisprudence at the University of Manchester working on reproductive health, law, and ethics” and Parsons is “a Wellcome PhD candidate in bioethics at the University of Bristol working on best interests decision making in renal care”.

However, under “Competing Interests”, the BMJ states: “None declared.”

Biased BMJ?

“The BMJ runs the risk of being criticised as publishing pro-abortion propaganda as if it were objective research” said Smeaton, SPUC’s chief executive.

“The contributors to the journal, Elizabeth Chloe Romanis and Jordan Parsons both engage in online pro-abortion activism. Romanis very recently supported the activity of radical pro-abortion bodies including Alliance for Choice and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS),” he continued.

Both Romanis and Parsons have published pieces in the BMJ “warning” MPs against letters written by pro-life constituents and without declaring their own ideological pro-abortion position.

This is not the first time that the objectivity of the BMJ has been brought into question. In 2018, as reported by SPUC, the academic journal published a “flawed article” promoting the acceptance of home abortions, whilst refusing to acknowledge any criticism of the submission despite the numerous methodological problems.

“The BMJ cannot be driven by ideology”

“The endorsement of pro-abortion content by public activists shows an unacceptable level of bias from the BMJ,” Mr. Smeaton said.

“It is the duty of the BMJ, as a universal medical journal, to provide medico-scientific evidence which is free from ideological bias if it wants to live up to its claim that “evidence underpins everything we do,” Mr. Smeaton concluded. “And they certainly should not publish content from pro-abortion advocates as if it were objective research.”