JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, today expressed frustration and disappointment with the Interim Committee on The Sanctity of Life, refusing to sign the committee’s “unilaterally-written, politically-motived” report.
“I agreed to serve on this committee because I am concerned with medical ethics irrespective of politics,” Senator Schupp explained. “The Planned Parenthood videos, while heavily edited, were troubling to me. Unfortunately, this committee has devoted little attention to its stated mission and has instead morphed into a politically motivated witch hunt.”
Despite the issuance of subpoenas and multiple large-scale sunshine requests, the Sanctity of Life committee has failed to expose any information suggesting fetal tissue or organs were being sold by Planned Parenthood. A separate two-month investigation by the Attorney General similarly found no evidence of illegal activity.
“This committee, despite multiple hearings, subpoenas, and sunshine requests, has produced nothing to suggest Planned Parenthood has broken any laws or engaged in unethical practices,” Schupp asserted. “Sadly, these facts, while inconvenient, haven’t stopped the chairman from using his committee for political gain. He’s not letting the truth get in the way of a good story.”
A vast majority of the committee’s time has been used to attack the University of Missouri System, with which Chairman Schaefer has a well-publicized political grievance concerning his bid to become Missouri’s next Attorney General. Schaefer’s only opponent in that race was recently granted a year of unpaid leave by the University to run his campaign.
Among the many subpoenas and information requests issued to University officials, a letter from Schaefer dated Oct. 30, 2015 attempts to repress a graduate student’s research project on the effects of Missouri’s new anti-abortion laws.
“This committee has sunk to the level of suppressing academic freedom,” Schupp stated. “Unable to discover any wrongdoings by Planned Parenthood, the committee has mutated into a crusade against women’s healthcare, the University system and academic freedom. The Chairman is literally combing through academics’ research, looking for ‘illegal’ academic inquiries. The transition from medical ethics to criminalizing educational research is deeply troubling.”
Senator Schupp also took issue with the manner in which the committee report was constructed.
“The committee never met to discuss any aspect of the report,” the Senator noted. “Then one day an email appeared that literally said ‘Here’s the report, respond with approval.’ There was no semblance of proper process; no discussion, no edits – just unilateral dictates.”
Senator Schupp joined Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, the only other Democrat on the committee, in refusing to sign the report.
For more information on Sen. Schupp’s legislation, visit her official Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/schupp.