MU chancellor decides not to restore abortion privileges

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COLUMBIA - MU's Interim Chancellor Hank Foley annouced his decision Monday not to restore the refer and follow privileges that allow abortions to be performed in Columbia's facility.

Following the decision, the Department of Health will take away its abortion license leaving the St. Louis Planned Parenthood the only facility in the state where abortion can be performed.

Coordinator for Mizzou for Planned Parenthood Jordan Hoyt said the organization sent Chancellor Foley more than 2,500 signatures and approximately 1,700 emails asking him to support Planned Parenthood.

"If we lose those privileges, the Missouri will become a one-provider state for abortion services leaving our St. Louis health center as the only remaining provider," Hoyt said.

She said having only one abortion-performing clinic in the state provides very little convenience for Missouri residents.

"It provides an incredible barrier to access for women, particularly women in rural areas because we have a harsh 72-hour rule in this state they have to go twice, essentially, in 72 hours," Hoyt said. "It makes it a very difficult barrier for many women who may not have transportation services or access."

Hoyt said the actions of former MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin have "directly impacted our community."

"Going forward, it's going to impede our ability to provide health care service to a lot of women in mid-Missouri," Hoyt said. "It absolutely affects the University. We have students who work with and interact with Planned Parenthood on a regular basis, we have students who seek out educational opportunities there, and it really hinders our ability to enhance our education, which we have a right to do."

Mizzou Students for Life said in a statement that they oppose the restoration of the privileges to the Planned Parenthood doctor because "our pro-life group cares about the unborn lives that would be lost as a result of the Columbia Planned Parenthood providing abortions."

The group also said that recent activities on MU's campus should play a role in making this decision.

"Especially at a time when the University is attempting to confront discrimination, Mizzou should refrain from connections with a national organization which has employees of other locations who have, in the past, passively acquiesced to the prospect of sex-selective abortions," the pro-life organization stated.

Chancellor Foley's decion goes into effect Tuesday, December 1.

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include MU Chancellor Hank Foley's decision to not restore abortion privilieges.)