Students launch petition to save abortionist fellowship
Students are petitioning the University of Minnesota to reinstate a controversial fellowship that would have used taxpayer funds to train an abortionist at the local Planned Parenthood.
The petition, “Tell UMN to Reinstate the Reproductive Rights Fellowship,” has racked up nearly 2,500 signatures and was penned by Trish Palermo, a recent graduate of UMN-Twin Cities and the outgoing Student Government President.
The petition comes as UMN recently scrapped plans to hire a “teacher in training” for future abortionists. As Campus Reform previously reported, that new hire would have been deployed to Planned Parenthood to learn abortion and abortion-related procedures, with the expectation that they will then be able to pass those skills along to other prospective abortionists.
However, after Campus Reform reported on the fellowship, the school’s pro-life student organization, Bulldogs for Life, condemned the position, arguing that “it is frightening that UMN is is actively promoting and supporting abortion here on campus.”
In response, UMN announced suspension of the fellowship on May 8.
“We have pulled the position from the website and are no longer hiring for this role,” Jakub Tolar, Dean of the UMN Medical School, told Campus Reform. “We will examine the value of this training in the context of our mission along with the values of our community.”
Trish Palermo, the outgoing Student Government President, said she launched the petition because she and her fellow student government officers sensed a widespread consensus among students in support of the fellowship.
“It is disappointing that the university allowed partisan politics to influence which educational programs we are offering students,” Palermo said. “The response that the University needs time to re-evaluate their ‘values’ is unacceptable.”
Numerous students were “furious” with the school’s decision, Palermo added, saying, “That is why we came together and launched this petition. We wanted to give students the opportunity to ask the University to reinstate the fellowship.”
The petition—which has now been signed by nearly 2,500 students and community members—argues that because the fellow would have taught “legal medical procedures,” the program shouldn’t have been cancelled.
“While frequently politicized, these procedures are legal,” the petition asserts, adding that “As a public university, the University of Minnesota should not allow partisan politics to influence education.”
“If you are disappointed with the response from the Dean and believe the Medical School should reinstate this fellowship, sign and share this petition. #EducationOverPolitics,” the petition concludes.
Erick Osten, on behalf of Bulldog Students for Life, urged the school not to cave.
“Reinstating the Fellowship for reproductive rights would go directly against the Hippocratic oath of ‘do no harm’ that doctors have to take before they become physicians,” Osten noted. “It really shows a lack of character and moral bearing when I see so many students, educators and doctors alike so willing to go directly against the oath by which they swore and will swear to uphold; namely to keep patients from ‘harm and injustice.”
Campus Reform reached out to UMN for a response to the petition, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen