November 30th, 2015
The purpose of this statement today is to address the pending deadline for discontinued refer and follow privileges at MU Health Care as well as to reinforce our support for academic freedom.
During the last few months many individuals and groups have contacted the University of Missouri with varying opinions regarding our university’s relationship with Planned Parenthood. Please know that I have heard your concerns.
I personally have given this issue much thought and have been touched by many of the emails and letters our office has received—especially those from women who have relied on Planned Parenthood for health care. I am sympathetic to many of the situations and extenuating circumstances these women have found themselves in—situations and circumstances that lead to decisions most women will never have to make.
However, I will continue to support the Medical Staff Executive Committee at MU Health Care. Thus, after a thorough policy review by MU Health Care, refer and follow privileges will be discontinued Dec. 1, 2015. Two physicians were affected by this, and neither requested an appeal. Any physician seeking privileges at MU Health Care goes through the same vetting process.
The issue of abortion invokes much depth of emotion and passion; I understand this. However, as a state and federally funded university with a health system, we are required to follow applicable state and federal laws.
In addition, the university has been challenged regarding an ongoing research project at Planned Parenthood. I will continue to support academic freedom and the rights and responsibilities of this great land grant university to continue its missions of education, research and service. Many of our students engage in educational and clinical training in women’s health with a variety of clinical partners. Some of our students in nursing, social work or other health professions do clinical rotations at Planned Parenthood, but do not participate in the termination of pregnancies. Other students and faculty members also may have collaborations with Planned Parenthood. These are and have been approved through the appropriate channels in the colleges, or the Office of Research. Again, the university will continue to follow all applicable state and federal laws.
Finally, I respect those who will feel differently about this matter. And I respect their right to protest peacefully as they intend to do later today.