In November, former University of Missouri chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned in the wake of student protests denouncing racism on campus and the administration’s complete lack of action towards addressing it. But new protests are springing up as the result of a final disservice by Loftin toward the school’s students — before leaving he revoked the “refer and follow” privileges for women’s health care doctor Colleen McNicholas. Due to technicalities in Missouri law, McNicholas is not qualified to provide abortions in the college town of Columbia without the “refer and follow,” even though she is an OB/GYN at a hospital two hours away in St. Louis.
Loftin’s decision came shortly after Missouri Senate Leader Tom Dempsey formed a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood, and protesters believe the administration is using women’s reproductive health “as a political football.” By tonight it will no longer be legal for women to obtain an abortion in Columbia. Interim chancellor Hank Foley has acknowledged the existence of the protestors but refused to overturn the decision.
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