Refuse to let journals and editors launch meritless attacks without a fight.

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Today the Charlotte Lozier Institute and associate scholars face an unprecedented attack on our research. We believe that because our research has been widely read and cited, including in prominent legal contexts, we are now subject to unprovoked and partisan assault. Sage Publishing, an academic publishing company, announced its decision to retract three of our studies on February 5, 2024. This action is meritless because, among other things, Sage to this day has advanced no legitimate objection to any findings of the studies.

Sage’s actions should be of great concern to the entire research community. This appears to be an effort to undermine and eliminate findings made by public health scientists and researchers who dare to follow science rather than a prescribed narrative on abortion.

Read and Share the Censored Papers

Read and download the three censored papers, then upload them to the internet anywhere you can — on Facebook, on Google Drive, email them to your friends — to ensure the censors don’t win.

Doctors Who Perform Abortions: Their Characteristics and Patterns of Holding and Using Hospital Privileges

Authors: James Studnicki , Tessa Longbons, John W. Fisher, Donna J. Harrison, Ingrid Skop, Sharon J. MacKinnon

Read Censored Paper

A Longitudinal Cohort Study of Emergency Room Utilization Following Mifepristone Chemical and Surgical Abortions, 1999–2015

Authors: James Studnicki, Donna J. Harrison, Tessa Longbons, Ingrid Skop, David C. Reardon, John W. Fisher, Maka Tsulukidze, Christopher Craver

Read Censored Paper

A Post Hoc Exploratory Analysis: Induced Abortion Complications Mistaken for Miscarriage in the Emergency Room are a Risk Factor for Hospitalization

Authors: James Studnicki , Tessa Longbons , Donna J. Harrison, Ingrid Skop, Christina Cirucci , David C. Reardon, Christopher Craver, John W. Fisher, Maka Tsulukidze

Read Censored Paper

Watch: Authors Respond to Censorship by Sage

Send a note of encouragement to the authors of the studies censored by Sage:

Timeline Of Sage’s Censorship


CLI Emergency Room study published

The study found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits following a chemical abortion increased over 500% from 2002 through 2015, according to an analysis of Medicaid claims data.

View the study


Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruling halts FDA approval of mifepristone, cites CLI study in ruling.

Learn more

“Back in April” 2023

Chris Adkins (at the time, he was anonymous) complains to SAGE, according to States Newsroom article.


Initial email to CLI from SAGE communicating concerns/comments from anonymous complainant.

View the email


CLI responds to SAGE addressing concerns.

View the letter

7/31/23 or thereabouts

SAGE publishes Expression of Concern (EOC) (dated 7/25).

View the EOC


States Newsroom article published about the EOC, identifying the complainant as Chris Adkins. The article notes he supports abortion.

View the article


Second CLI communication to SAGE (no response).


Third CLI communication to SAGE.


Acknowledgement from SAGE.


 Response from SAGE

Long email detailing process. Bottom line: “Note that throughout this process, we have acted in accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics, the industry standard for these practices, as we would for any similar case… Once the review is complete, an updated notice will be published. We have taken this step in multiple other instances of post-publication follow-up (see our corrections and retractions policy for more information).”


In a review of a newly submitted study, a reviewer cites the EOC and questions CLI’s integrity.


Fourth CLI communication to SAGE.


Response from SAGE

“Thank you for your letter.  I will obtain an update on the investigation and will be in contact again shortly.”


Fifth CLI communication to SAGE.


Response from SAGE

“Please be advised our investigation is ongoing and we will be in touch as soon as we have an update for you.  Thank you for your patience.”


Notice from SAGE that three studies will be retracted on 11/17/23.


Dr. Studnicki is officially removed from the Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology (HSRME) editorial board. HSRME is a journal owned by SAGE.

View the email


CLI responds to retraction notice, requesting more time to respond to criticisms.

View the letter


SAGE responds to CLI, giving until 11/29, 8 PM ET to respond.

View the letter


CLI responds to SAGE and includes a detailed explanation rebutting SAGE’s methodological concerns.

View the letter


Brief acknowledgement of receipt from SAGE.


SAGE retracts all three studies.

View Retraction Notice

Follow us and share the truth about abortion on social media

Big Abortion and their allies think they can silence pro-life Americans by censoring pro-life researchers. Prove them wrong by following the Charlotte Lozier Institute on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) so you stay informed. Then fight back against the censorship by sharing the truth about abortion with your friends.

The Double Standard

One of Sage’s reasons for retracting the CLI studies is “undisclosed conflicts of interest” regarding organizational affiliation. Not only did the authors report their organizational affiliations, but Sage has not required researchers affiliated with pro-abortion institutions to report their employment as a conflict of interest.

Below are examples of pro-abortion institutions and their Sage studies that aren’t being censored.

“Ibis seeks to ensure all people have the right and ability to access safe, affordable, quality abortion care by identifying and addressing evidence gaps; using research to advocate for improved, client-centered abortion care; and collaborating with partners to integrate abortion as a necessary part of reproductive health care.” Studies include:

Ipas states that they “work with partners around the world to advance reproductive justice by expanding access to abortion and contraception.” Their “singular commitment to expand access to abortion has remained constant” and they work “to build sustainable abortion ecosystems.” Studies include:

The Guttmacher Institute identifies as “a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) worldwide,” which includes “safe abortion care” as “essential.” Studies include:

The Bixby Center states that they “believe comprehensive family planning includes access to safe abortion. Our research on safe abortion is designed increase access by expanding those who provide care and removing barriers to service.” The Bixby Center published a study entitled:

ANSIRH is run by Bixby. They “envision a world in which all people have the resources, support, and freedom to achieve reproductive wellbeing” and believe that “abortion is an essential part of reproductive health care.” ANSIRH published a study entitled:

“We believe in just and equitable abortion and contraception” is listed on the front page of the Society of Family Planning’s website. The organization funded a study entitled:


For over a decade, CLI has been an established voice in the national research community with dozens of published articles and citations in the public square. The quality of this work and its impact have been undeniable. No doubt exists that the subject matter addressed by this research, as in so many other fields of inquiry, is often controversial.  This fact only heightens the responsibility of researchers and reviewers to conduct meticulous work and publish their findings as a contribution to public discourse.

Two years ago, a CLI study led by Dr. James Studnicki found an increase in the rate of postabortion ER visits following chemical abortions based on Medicaid claims data. The study has been widely cited and has provided impetus for other studies seeking better information on the impacts of abortion on women. It was this study that, nearly two years later, caught the attention of a complainant whose letter, which remains unpublished to date, prompted Sage to issue an Expression of Concern (EOC) for the article.

The EOC did not refer to any finding of the study but claimed “potential issues regarding the representation of data in the article and author conflicts of interest.” Dr. Studnicki explained the graph which had been previously accepted by Sage reviewers and an editor, and which Sage later admitted is not “unusual.”  Instead of eliminating the EOC or responding to his answers, Sage persisted and extended an investigation for months.

On November 13, Sage informed the CLI researchers that it was retracting the ER study and two additional studies (see here and here). Dr. Studnicki, of course, had no role whatsoever in reviewing and approving the articles that appeared under his lead authorship.


Most telling is that none of Sage’s methodological concerns invalidates any finding in any of the three papers. Regardless, Dr. Studnicki responded to the expressed concerns in good faith. Rather than engage with Dr. Studnicki on the quality of the science, Sage has now decided to act as judge, jury and executioner, ignoring CLI’s affirmative defense of its research.

Sage’s “undisclosed conflicts of interest” claim also lacks merit. CLI believes in full transparency, and, at the time of submissions, all authors fully complied with Sage’s conflict disclosure requirements.  They also reported their organizational affiliations, as well as CLI funding of the study, as part of the submission for publication. Indeed, the ER study includes 10 mentions of CLI and the authors’ professional status or relationship there. However, Sage now claims that CLI authors involved in the studies had to report their employment at the pro-life organization as a “conflict of interest”—but no such report was required under the authors’ agreement with Sage or given the disclosures that were repeatedly made.

It was not only unnecessary, but also an abrupt departure from Sage’s established standards for all articles on the topic in question. Sage has not required researchers affiliated with pro-choice institutions to report their employment as a “conflict of interest.” There are no disclosures in this study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute or this study led by an abortionist with all authors affiliated with the Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability. This blatant double standard is unacceptable.

Sage also noted that one of the original reviewers who evaluated the three studies reportedly maintained an affiliation with CLI which, according to Sage, made the review process “unreliable.” When a study is submitted for review, the publisher chooses reviewers who remain anonymous for the duration of the review and publishing process. Anonymity is key because it allows the reviewer to provide candid feedback without worrying about offending the authors.

Sage even goes one step further and uses “double-anonymized” review, meaning neither the author nor the reviewer knows each other’s identities. The reviewers should not have been informed that CLI participated in this paper and there is no information to the contrary. Considering Sage had exclusive control of the review process including the selection of the reviewers, it is entirely the responsibility of the journal, not CLI.

As the authors have made clear to Sage:

  1. No finding in any of the three studies has been substantively challenged, let alone proven invalid.
  2. Sage has shown no evidence of any major errors, miscalculations, or falsehoods.
  3. There is no breach of the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics, which helps set standards for academic publications.
  4. These retractions are clearly unwarranted.

If this precedent of rejecting open inquiries in the scientific field continues, then the honest pursuit of science has truly become an afterthought.  As matters of policy, practice, and legality, CLI does not engage in political activity; we strive to provide quality research to inform the topic under study. We stand by our work, and we stand behind Dr. Studnicki and his eminent career of research, teaching, and mentoring investigators across the United States in multiple fields of inquiry.

This much should be clear: On issues of public importance, where debates are strenuous and people of prominence and ability disagree, the premium on the conduct of fair and free research and publishing is even higher.

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