October 26, 2015 — The University of Missouri entered into new contracts with Planned Parenthood to allow MU nursing students to perform clinical rotations at the organization's facilities, the Missourian reports (Schmelzer, Missourian, 10/20).
Last month, University of Missouri officials canceled 10 contracts with Planned Parenthood amid a state investigation into the organization. A state Senate Interim Committee was investigating Planned Parenthood in the wake of a series of misleading videos targeting the organization (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/18). MU Health Care also rescinded "refer and follow" privileges for Planned Parenthood’s physician in Columbia, Mo., which will preclude the clinic's ability to provide abortion care. Planned Parenthood has said it will take legal action against MU for the decision (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/29).
The contracts, which were with Planned Parenthood clinics located in five cities across four states, were cancelled between Aug. 21 and Sept. 3. Under the contracts, MU nursing and medical students could opt to receive training at Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee. According to MU Health System spokesperson Mary Jenkins, between one and two MU nursing students opted to work at the Planned Parenthood clinic each year (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/18).
The canceled contracts allowed for multiple students to work with Planned Parenthood with no definitive end date, and did not allow nursing students to assist with abortions. Nursing students were trained on contraception, cancer screenings and female health exams.
One MU agreement with Planned Parenthood that was not canceled permits the university's School of Social Work to allow students to learn under social workers there.
According to MU Health Care spokesperson Teresa Snow, three MU nursing students have requested clinical rotations at Planned Parenthood for the spring semester. A training agreement for one of the students was approved on Tuesday, while the remaining two are still under consideration but likely to be approved "sooner rather than later," according to Snow. Planned Parenthood is reviewing the contracts with MU attorneys.
The new contracts allow a specified student to work with Planned Parenthood for a predefined period of time. The contracts bar the nursing students from assisting in abortion care or providing counseling on abortion to women. Students would "work closely with a practicing health care provider to gain skills and knowledge," Snow said. She did not provide details on what their work would entail at the clinics (Missourian, 10/20).