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Journal delays pro-life article after ‘racism’ complaints
Perry Hendricks pro-life journal article tweet

Author blames online mob: ‘No reasonable reader would think article is racist, sexist’

A pro-life essay is on hold by an academic journal following “racism” complaints from a scholar.

The article, “Abortion Restrictions are Good for Black Women,” has been stalled for about three weeks since The New Bioethics accepted it Feb. 12, author Perry Hendricks told The College Fix.

Taylor and Francis Insights, which publishes the academic journal, confirmed to The Fix that Hendricks’ article has been “put on hold after several complaints were raised.”

“This is standard procedure for articles that are not yet published,” spokesman Mark Robinson told The Fix via email March 1. “A review found that it had been inadvertently accepted for publication before the final approval of the Editor-in-Chief of The New Bioethics, as is required by the journal’s policies. The Editor-in-Chief is now conducting this final review.”

The article argues against popular claims that abortion restrictions harm black women. It makes the case that these restrictions are good because abortion is morally wrong and people benefit when they are prevented from committing immoral acts, according to the abstract.

Hendricks holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and taught philosophy classes at the University of Minnesota from 2022 to 2023, according to his personal website. He said this is the first time that his work has been the target of attacks online.

Hendricks told The Fix by email Feb. 27 that he doubts his critics even read the article.

“No passages in my article can reasonably be interpreted as racist or sexist. And no reasonable reader would think the article is racist or sexist. In light of this, it’s unsurprising that no one has even tried to identify a problematic passage,” he said.

Online ‘mob’ attacks article

Hendricks told The Fix he received an email Feb. 12 notifying him that the article was accepted. On Feb. 15, he said he received another email saying the article was on hold pending further review.

Earlier that same day, Durham Law School Professor Elizabeth Chloe Romanis questioned the article’s acceptance in a post on X that attracted a lot of attention. Romanis’s profile states her research focuses on “reproduction and the body (abortion, gestation, pregnancy, and birth).”

“I cannot with the state of the field of bioethics – how is stuff like this – patent sexism, racism, and moralism about healthcare – getting through peer review,” she wrote.

Romanis also tagged Taylor and Francis in a Feb. 16 retweet of her original post, questioning their editorial decisions and calling the acceptance of the article “worrying.”

“[It’s] so worrying that there must have been multiple places where the flagrant racism and sexism could have been flagged,” she wrote.

Hendricks told The Fix this is the first time a journal has delayed publishing one of his articles. According to his CV, he has had nearly 30 peer-reviewed articles published in academic journals.

“But I’ve also not had a mob of Twitter users get mad at an article of mine before!” he said.

He said he does not think Romanis even read his article.

“Unsurprisingly, she didn’t quote any passages to support her claims about sexism or racism,” Hendricks told The Fix.

“It’s alarming how fragile academics on Twitter are,” Hendricks said. “It can’t be good for your health to be enraged by a relatively innocuous academic article like mine. I hope these people are able to get the help they need.”

The Fix contacted Romanis by email twice in the past week asking why she believes the article is racist and sexist and if she thinks it should be retracted. She did not reply.

Other scholars defend article

Dr. Calum Miller, a British medical doctor and researcher at the University of Oxford, called Taylor and Francis’ decision “interference in the academic process” in a Feb. 17 post on X.

Hendricks also pointed The Fix to a pro-choice blogger who defended the article.

In a post on his substack blog Going Awol, philosophy student Amos Wollen said the accusations of racism and sexism against Hendricks’ writing are unfounded.

“Many people saw the screenshot of the abstract on Twitter and subsequently got angry about race,” Wollen wrote. “But the responsibility there lies with the original poster, who screenshotted a paper posted on a niche academic website and posted it on online with an angry caption, to a large following, with the predictable outcome that lots of people would get angry about it.”

Last month, academic punisher Sage Journals retracted four abortion-related studies, The Fix reported. The journal alleges the researchers failed to disclose conflicts of interest regarding their affiliations with pro-life organizations.

However, the researchers dispute the allegations, and they told The Fix they are planning legal action.

MORE: Journal faces ‘legal action’ for pulling pro-life papers

IMAGE: Elizabeth Chloe Romanis/X

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Kate Roberson is a student at Empire State College where she is studying history. Her work has appeared in The Federalist and on her blog, The Inkstain.