College Students Wanted to Save a Controversial ‘Abortion Fellowship’
University of Minnesota halted idea after pushback from parents, students, and others who value all life; liberal forces seek to bring it back
“Reproductive rights” — euphemistic code for killing unborn children — is being framed as a social justice issue on many college campuses.
The aim, of course, is to make abortion palatable and guilt-free to the masses. And University of Minnesota students are doing their part to put abortion access front and center by petitioning their university to reinstate a fellowship to hire one “teacher in training.”
This new hire would work “boots on the ground” at a local Planned Parenthood to learn abortion and abortion-related procedures, with the expectation that this individual would then pass the skills along to other medical students, according to Campus Reform.
The university, with locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis, suspended the program on May 8 in order to review it after unhappy parents, students, and pro-life advocacy groups became concerned it would promote abortion, reported The Daily Caller.
From 2006 to 2018, Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, performed some 3.5 million abortions.
As of June 7, 2018, the petition bearing the title “Tell UMN to Reinstate the Reproductive Rights Fellowship” had fetched roughly 2,500 signatures.
The petition, authored by outgoing Student Body President Trish Palermo, reads in part: “As you may have heard, the University of Minnesota Medical School recently chose to break a partnership that further trained doctors on medical procedures for women. The fellowship would provide the training and means for a doctor to teach medical students important skills in this field such as the following legal medical procedures: IUD insertions, first-trimester sonographies, endometrial biopsies, and pregnancy termination. These skills are necessary for our medical professionals to ensure the safety of their medical patients …”
To be sure, Palermo does not include the unborn among the patients. She also omits the fact that residents in OB-GYN are already trained in how to terminate pregnancies.
“The university’s decision does not eliminate its training involving abortion. Accredited obstetric residency programs are required to provide abortion training, although residents with ethical objections can opt out,” according to the Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest daily newspaper.
The controversy at the University of Minnesota began last fall, when a faculty member agreed to a fellowship grant from the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP), a New York advocacy group.
“Primary care clinicians, who are the main health care providers working in under-served urban and rural U.S. communities, are the key to expanding access to quality reproductive health care. However, merely 6 percent of family medicine residency programs offer training in abortion care,” says a note on the group’s website.
Despite the ongoing spin from both Palermo and RHAP, Michelle Cretella, M.D., president of the Gainesville, Florida-based American College of Pediatricians, separates fact from fiction.
“The university has a policy in place that obtains fetal tissue from out of state, circumventing the Minnesota legislature’s intended restrictions.”
“The irony behind the ‘reproductive rights’ rhetoric is threefold. First, abortion is about not reproducing; second, it denies the right to life of pre-born children; and, finally, it deprives women of their right to life-affirming options that would require our male-centered culture to make authentic woman-affirming changes,” she told LifeZette via email.
“I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”
— Shiloh Christian Fellowship (@ShilohCf2001) June 5, 2018
A mom herself, Cretella is a pediatrician and an expert in adolescent mental and sexual health.
“Abortion is not health care,” said Cretella. “Abortion kills an innocent human life and is never necessary to save a woman’s life. Just as taxpayer Title X funds may not be used for abortion (because this would make taxpayers complicit in the killing of innocent human life), no medical school has the right to use taxpayer funds to train abortionists,” she added.
The university’s public relations assistant director, Emmalyn Bauer, emailed LifeZette the following statement on the fellowship: “The Medical School did not make this decision alone. The decision was to pause, not to end, this critical training. The Medical School proudly trains physicians, and will continue training in comprehensive reproductive healthcare, based on legality, service, and accreditation requirements.”
In other University of Minnesota news, the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm, informed LifeZette on Thursday in a written statement that it is delivering oral arguments in a case against that institution for “illegally procuring and using human fetal tissue for research.”
The statement notes, “The university has a policy in place that obtains fetal tissue from out of state, circumventing the Minnesota legislature’s intended restrictions.”
There is undoubtedly more to come on that issue as well.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.