In April of this year, the University of Missouri approved a study that is examining a new state law requiring a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion. The study is being conducted by a student who is also an employee of St. Louis Planned Parenthood. The student’s academic advisor is a current board member of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.
Planned Parenthood representatives are now trying to paint anyone who raises concerns about this research as enemies of academic freedom. So, let’s be clear: the University of Missouri has the right to approve research conducted by its students that tackle controversial topics, including the impact of the new law requiring a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion.
It is unfortunate, however, that no one at MU considered the conflict of interest that would naturally arise by having a student who is also an employee of Planned Parenthood conduct this particular research. In the future, before approving research projects, the University should consider conflicts of interests, especially when the research proposed is to be conducted by the industry under study.
Would anyone give credibility to a study by tobacco companies on the health effects of smoking? Just because MU has the right to approve research doesn’t mean it has to exercise this right on every research proposal.