- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri and Planned Parenthood have ended their 26-year relationship after state lawmakers started investigating abortions performed at the organization’s clinics.

Within the past month, university officials cancelled 10 contracts with Planned Parenthood clinics in four states where students would complete clinical hours.

University of Missouri Health System spokeswoman Mary Jenkins told the Columbia Missourian (https://bit.ly/1ifTbaI ) that nursing and medical students were never required to work at a Planned Parenthood clinic, but it was an optional rotation.

In July, former Senate leader Tom Dempsey formed the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life in response to videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood staff selling aborted tissue. The committee’s goal is to determine how clinics in Missouri dispose of aborted issue, whether any state funding has been used to facilitate abortions and whether the health care provide has broken any state laws, according to the Missouri Senate website.

The decades-long relationship between the University of Missouri and Planned Parenthood has come into question over the course of the committee’s investigation.



On Tuesday, the committee met again to get public feedback on the inquiry, and many people who spoke opposed any facilitation of abortion by the University of Missouri.

A letter of understanding with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, which was signed by officials with the university’s School of Medicine, gave residents studying obstetrics and gynecology the option of learning how to perform surgical and medical abortions.

The agreement was required to meet requirements from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which mandated schools to provide training on abortion procedures at a student’s request, University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said in a letter to Republican state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia, who’s leading the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life.

The requirements have since changed, and the agreement wasn’t renewed after it expired in 2011, according to Loftin.

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Information from: Columbia Missourian, https://www.columbiamissourian.com

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