A Missouri State Senator has uncovered fresh evidence of collaboration between the University of Missouri and the state’s leading abortion provider. State Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia has discovered a “research study” being conducted by the University which assists Planned Parenthood in marketing its “abortion services.”
The study is being undertaken with university funding at the Reproductive Health Services abortion clinic operated by Planned Parenthood in St. Louis City. The purpose of the study, under the auspices of the University’s School of Social Work, is to examine the impact of a recently adopted Missouri law requiring a 72-hour period for abortions.
Documents obtained by Senator Schaefer state that the public “benefit” of the study is to “help Planned Parenthood…improve its services to better meet the needs of women seeking abortions.” Senator Schaefer also determined that the adviser for the study is Dr. Marjorie Sable, the Director of the School of Social Work. Sable also coincidentally serves as the Secretary of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
The study is intended to include 200 women who have obtained abortions or are considering aborting their child. Participants in the study will be entered into drawings to receive Visa gift cards.
Senator Schaefer sharply criticized the University of Missouri for the latest evidence of an ongoing partnership with Planned Parenthood. “This study does not appear to be designed as an objective, unbiased research project, but rather as a marketing aid for Planned Parenthood–one that is funded, in part or in whole, by taxpayer dollars.”
“It is difficult to understand how a research study approved by the University, conducted by a University student, and overseen by the Director of Social Work, can be perceived as anything but an expenditure of public funds to aid Planned Parenthood…in violation of Missouri law,” Schaeffer says in a letter to University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Missouri law expressly prohibits the use of state employees, state facilities, or state funds to assist in the performance of elective abortions.
The latest revelation about Mizzou’s abortion connection makes one thing abundantly clear–Missouri’s new 72-hour waiting period law must be working. The study documents state that the purpose of the research is to determine “why a significant number of women sign the 72-hour consent form to have an abortion, but then never return to the clinic to have the abortion procedure.”
The Missouri General Assembly enacted the 72-hour waiting period law during the 2014 legislative session, which was initiated by Senator David Sater of Cassville. The Missouri Family Policy Council was a major advocate of the 72-hour “reflection period” between the time a woman visits an abortion clinic and an abortion can be performed.
When a woman considering abortion first meets with staff at an abortion clinic, she is provided with informed consent materials produced by the state. They include information about the nature and risks of the abortion procedure, the intrauterine development of the preborn child, and alternatives to the abortion procedure. The waiting period law is designed to provide the woman with sufficient time to review this information and fully explore her options.
The University of Missouri has faced withering criticism from pro-life legislators and leaders since it was learned over the summer that University Hospital had collaborated with Planned Parenthood to reopen their abortion clinic in Columbia. The clinic resumed performing chemical abortions as a result of clinical privileges granted by University Hospital to Planned Parenthood’s abortionist, Dr. Colleen McNicholas.
Missouri law requires that any physician performing or inducing abortions must have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. State health officials reactivated the operating license of the Planned Parenthood clinic based on the actions of University Hospital. Dr. McNicholas was informed last December by the chief of staff of University Hospital that she had been appointed to the hospital’s “organized medical staff” with detailed onsite privileges.
The staff privileges granted to McNicholas were clearly based on politics and not medicine. McNicholas has no active medical practice in the Columbia area or anywhere in mid-Missouri. Her medical office is at the Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, where she serves on the staff of Barnes Jewish Hospital and Missouri Baptist Medical Center.
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University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin came under fire after he provided misleading testimony to a state legislative committee investigating Planned Parenthood. Loftin falsely characterized the University’s relationship with McNicholas, and denied any active complicity by University staff in Planned Parenthood’s abortion business. It was subsequently revealed that a University of Missouri nursing professor who also serves as a nurse practitioner for Planned Parenthood had worked with McNicholas to help her obtain staff privileges at University Hospital.
In September, Chancellor Loftin reversed course and announced that the University was terminating its working arrangement with McNicholas, calling it “outdated and unnecessary.” He also announced that the University was scrapping ten other working agreements with Planned Parenthood facilities around the state. Under those contracts, graduate students in obstetrics could complete clinical hours learning how to perform or assist in surgical abortions at Planned Parenthood.
Now Loftin is reversing course again. The University’s Sinclair School of Nursing has signed four new site agreements with Planned Parenthood so that nursing students can receive training in “women’s health” at Planned Parenthood.
Where the University’s sloppy and sleazy behavior goes from here is hard to predict in the light of yesterday’s resignation of University President Tim Wolfe. Yet in the midst of the many firestorms on the Mizzou campus, Senator Schaefer says he is not backing down. “I’m all for unbiased academic research. This does not appear to be unbiased academic research.”
LifeNews.com Note: Joe Ortwerth writes for the Missouri Family Policy Council.