University of Missouri doctoral student Lindsay Ruhr chose to write her dissertation on the impact of the state's 72-hour waiting period before women can obtain an abortion. State Senator Kurt Schaefer does not like that one bit.
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Republican from Columbia, Missouri, who chairs the Missouri state senate’s interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, sent a letter in late October to the University of Missouri calling Ruhr’s dissertation “a marketing aid for Planned Parenthood — one that is funded, in part or in whole, by taxpayer dollars,” according to a copy of the letter posted to HuffingtonPost.com. Schaefer called for the university to hand over documents regarding the project's approval and said that, because the University of Missouri is a public university, it should not fund research that he said would promote elective abortions. Missouri law prohibits the use of public funds to promote non-life-saving abortions.
"We are still in the process of responding to Sen. Schaefer's request for documents," Mary Jenkins, public relations manager for University of Missouri Health, said Wednesday in an email. Schaefer did not respond to Al Jazeera's multiple interview requests.
Apparently, free speech in Missouri is not for women choosing to disagree with the state legislature, even when a student attends a public university.
Ruhr is an employee of Planned Parenthood and has conducted research at Planned Parenthood facilities, making her ripe as a target for the ultra-conservative lawmakers in the state.
“A doctoral student in the School of Social Work is completing research at Planned Parenthood as part of her dissertation,” university spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken told Al Jazeera. “She is employed at Planned Parenthood. She receives no scholarships from MU; nor is she the recipient of any grant money for this research.”
Spending taxpayer dollars to squelch free speech and free thought at a public university is just fine, too. How very conservative of him.