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Mizzou agrees to allow nursing students to train at Planned Parenthood

A doctor's stethoscope
(Via Flickr/Rosemary)
(Via Flickr/Rosemary)
A doctor's stethoscope

The University of Missouri’s nursing school in Columbia has signed agreements with two Planned Parenthood clinics to allow nursing students to obtain some of their training in women’s health services.

A university spokesman said the agreements are not contracts, but will enable three students who requested it to perform their clinical training at Planned Parenthood.

Separate agreements will be set up for any future students seeking that opportunity, the spokesman said.

Two of the students asked to train at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Columbia, while another student wanted to obtain training at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Independence, Mo. Both clinics are overseen by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

The agreement emphasizes that the students are not to be involved in any sort of abortion-related services or counseling. The Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia has been providing drug-induced abortions and was resuming surgical abortions when critics persuaded the university to drop hospital privileges for the clinic physician performing abortions.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood executives praised the new arrangement with the nursing school. But the officials emphasized they preferred the older arrangements that the school had recently terminated.

State legislators opposed to abortion have been conducting hearings about Planned Parenthood’s operations in the state in the wake of videos alleging that some Planned Parenthood operations in other states had been profiting from the sale of fetal remains for medical research. National Planned Parenthood officials have denied any improprieties and emphasized that the videos were heavily edited.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster recently announced that his office completed an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities in Missouri and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Wednesday's announcement of the nursing school's new agreements with Planned Parenthood coincided with a closed-door meeting of the university system's Board of Curators.  Some social conservatives contended that the meeting was prompted, in part, by the actions of University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to end the earlier, longstanding arrangements with Planned Parenthood and to rescind the hospital privileges of the physician conducting abortions at Planned Parenthood's Columbia clinic. The curators have not commented.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.