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Censorship Through Retractions, The Abortion Industry’s Latest Move to Silence Science

by | Feb 22, 2024

By Genevieve Plaster 

Scientific research, once a safe haven for facts and inquiry, is the latest victim of cancel culture after an academic publishing company, Sage, retracted three research studies that do not fit a pro-abortion political narrative.

The most prominent of these studies considered whether women who have induced abortions are more likely to end up in the emergency room. To answer this timely question, a team of credentialed doctors and researchers carefully examined and analyzed state Medicaid claims data. The results are staggering. The study found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits among Medicaid-eligible women who underwent the abortion drug regimen increased over 500 percent from 2002-2015.

Recognizing the significance of these findings, the authors submitted the study to Sage. In their submission, the study authors disclosed their organizational affiliations and willingly submitted to Sage’s protocol of a double-anonymized review of their work, meaning that neither the authors nor the reviewers knew each other’s identities – only Sage knew.

After multiple peer reviewers, selected by Sage, approved the study, Sage agreed to publish the findings of the study in November 2021. For over a year-and-a-half, the study contributed to productive discourse surrounding the health of women and the question of safety with abortion drugs. During that time, the study did not face a single challenge from members of the medical community, nor was it flagged for concern.

That all changed in April of last year, after the study was cited by a federal judge in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. Food and Drug Administration, a case which looks at the safety of the abortion drug mifepristone. Tellingly that same month, a then-anonymous individual complained to Sage about representation of data in the article and supposed author conflict of interest.

That complaint sparked eight months of back-and-forth between Sage and the study authors, in which every single critique about the research was directly refuted. Despite this good-faith effort by the researchers, this month Sage retracted the emergency room study and two other studies by the same lead author. The retraction occurred just a week after the United States Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. Food and Drug Administration.

Sage’s retraction notice cites the researchers’ affiliations with the Charlotte Lozier Institute and other pro-life organizations as a conflict of interest, a main reason for the retraction, despite the fact that these affiliations were clearly and repeatedly mentioned in the articles. Importantly, the authors of the three studies also fully complied with all of Sage’s disclosure requirements at the time of the articles’ submission.

Though there is no such conflict of interest with these papers, the publishing company seems to have a double standard, as many authors who are employed at pro-abortion organizations have not had their papers retracted due to conflicts of interest. For example, Sage has not retracted a published study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute or a study led by an abortionist affiliated with the Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability, despite each groups’ self-proclaimed abortion agenda.

Sage’s failure to hold pro-abortion researchers to the same requirements as those affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute is a double standard that is not only contributing to the downward spiral in the scientific community but is harming the public’s ability to have open and honest discourse on a number of vital topics, including abortion drugs.

Scientific research and publications must be grounded in science, not driven by ideology. If the academic elite is allowed to make decisions based on the politics of the day, we risk suppressing and censoring information that is imperative for women’s health and safety.  We also risk alienating credentialed and reasoned scientists, academics and researchers who cannot freely conduct scholarly work for fear of being canceled.

At the Charlotte Lozier Institute, we pride ourselves on our commitment to scientific inquiry.  We refuse to have decades of excellent work by our staff and scholars canceled and the contributions of top doctors and scientists demeaned by others advancing a pro-abortion narrative. We will continue the fight to stop the politicization of the scientific community and to put an end to censorship through retractions.

Regardless of your stance on abortion, we should all agree that the assault on science must end.

Editor’s note: Genevieve Plaster writes for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. This appeared at Townhall.

Categories: Abortion
Tags: abortion