A conservative Missouri lawmaker is trying to stop a graduate student from researching the effects that state’s mandated 72-hour waiting period for an abortion is having on women, the Huffington Post reports.
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R) sent a letter to the University of Missouri chancellor accusing the student of “helping Planned Parenthood.” State law prohibits state employees from using taxpayer money to encourage a woman to have an abortion.
“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,” Schaefer wrote in the letter dated October 30.
He went on to demand a broad range of materials including the study protocols, all communications by university employees regarding the study and all communications held by university employees regarding the funding of the study.
Schaefer chairs the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, which was created to investigate Planned Parenthood after heavily-edited and largely discredited videos alleging the women’s health organization sells fetal body parts were released.
According to HuffPo, it’s the latest blow in a battle between conservative state lawmakers and the university over its contracts with Planned Parenthood that allowed medical students to do rotations at the clinics, learning certain medical procedures. The cancellation of the contract helped lead to the ouster of UM president Tim Wolfe, though his inaction over campus racism was the prime factor.
The controversial waiting period does not have an exception for rape and incest, according to the New York Times.
The legality of the law is currently being challenged by the Satanic Temple, who sued claiming that the waiting period is an imposition of Christian beliefs on women members that violates their Satanic tenets. The Satanists claim the wait period is a violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
The University of Missouri is calling Schaefer’s request a threat to academic freedom.