Officials with St. Louis University are denying any involvement in an abortion training program conducted by Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Known as the Family Planning Fellowship, the program teaches medical students to become "experts" in all methods of first and second trimester abortions. Students gain their "expertise" in destroying preborn children at the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Louis and at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
The website of the Family Planning Fellowship stated that Washington University was collaborating with St. Louis University "to accomplish the goals of the
program." Candidates for the fellowship were advised that they could obtain a Master's Degree in Public Health from the St. Louis University School of Public Health.
Officials at St. Louis University "declined" to allow us to talk to the leadership of the School of Public Health. Instead, they issued a statement through Jeff Fowler, the university's Associate Vice-President for Marketing and Communications.
In that statement, St. Louis University insists that they have not collaborated in any way with Washington University in the operation of the program. Fowler says the university was unaware it had been linked with the
program on the Fellowship's website, and that the information on the website is not true.
The statement adds, "St. Louis University is committed to acting consistently with the teachings of the Catholic Church. As a Catholic and Jesuit university, St. Louis University's mission, vision, and values support the Catholic Church's teaching and positions on abortion and contraception. The University does not and would not support or collaborate with any program that is in conflict with those positions."
Fowler tells us that noone at St. Louis University had even heard of the program till it was revealed earlier this month by the Missouri Family Policy Council. Fowler said, "We may never know exactly who posted the text on the website, but it was erroneous and done without St. Louis University's knowledge."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
has reported that Washington University has apologized for including St.
Louis University in the website information. A spokeswoman for Washington University declared that "St. Louis University faculty have never been involved in the fellowship program." The spokeswoman refused to answer questions about how the information ended up on the website, and hung up on the Post-Dispatch
References to St. Louis University have supposedly been removed from the Family Planning Fellowship website.
Dr. Tessa Madden of Washington University, co-director of the program, requested that the changes be made.
St. Louis area Catholics and alumni of St. Louis University have expressed concern that two of the research mentors for the Family Planning Fellowship Program, Drs. Jenifer Allsworth and Gina Secura, are adjunct faculty members in the St. Louis University School of Public Health who also teach at Washington University. A third mentor, Dr. Mario Shootman, was listed as an adjunct faculty member in the St. Louis University School of Public Health as recently as last week.
Fowler provided this statement concerning the mentors who are adjunct professors: "St. Louis University, like most colleges and universities, uses part-time or adjunct faculty to teach some courses...Any faculty from Washington University in
St. Louis who have taught in St. Louis University's School of Public Health, taught specific introductory classes...which [are] guided by our Catholic, Jesuit mission and values. There is absolutely no affiliation between any courses taught at SLU by adjuncts and the Fellowship in Family Planning Program."
The Missouri Family Policy Council has sent letters to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees at Washington University and the President and Board of Directors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital calling on them to terminate their partnership with Planned Parenthood in the Family Planning Fellowship Program.
We will have more information on this subject in future editions of the Jeff City Update.