Medical Journal Pulls Studies on Chemical Abortions’ Health Risks

( – In April of 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of Texas ruled to suspend FDA approval of mifepristone, which is one of two drugs used for chemical abortions which generally take place at home within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. However, the case was appealed and will be moving up to the Supreme Court, which will start hearing arguments in the case in March. Pending judgement by the higher court, the drug has remained on the market.

In the original case that was before him by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, an association of antiabortion doctors, Judge Kacsmaryk cited two studies that indicated that chemical abortions may pose health risks. The studies used Medicaid claims data from the years of 1999 to 2015 that tracked emergency room visits following medication-based and procedural abortions. Their study of the data showed far more emergency room visits after using the medication method. These drugs have been in use for abortions in the U.S. since 2000 and in Canada since 2017.

However, these two studies were among three similar ones that have been retracted from their publisher, Sage Publishing. Sage announced the retractions on February 5 saying that studies did not declare a conflict of interest and upon assessment by unnamed experts decided their findings were unreliable. In their public announcement, Sage supports the retractions by using the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. COPE is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 whose stated mission is to define scholarly ethics in publishing.

The studies’ authors objected to the charge of nondisclosure as their affiliation with several pro-life groups was printed on the front page of every study. The studies’ lead author, James Studnicki, is also a vice president at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which is a pro-life organization that focuses on statistics, medicine and scientific research, and that organization was listed among them. He has characterized Sage’s retractions as a “baseless attack” on their scientific research. However, retractions of scientific papers have been increasing significantly, with 1 in 500 papers being retracted now.

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