Policy & Advocacy

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Nurses Oppose Political Interference in Research and Health Professional Education

January, 26 2017

The American Academy of Nursing issues position statement in support of academic freedom

In September 2015, under pressure from Missouri politicians, the University of Missouri canceled 10 contracts with Planned Parenthood eliminating clinical training for nursing and medical students in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including long-acting contraception methods and early abortion care. The University then ended admitting privileges for an OB-Gyn faculty member and Planned Parenthood physician and attempted to stop a graduate student from continuing her dissertation research on the impact of a 72-hour waiting period on women considering abortions.

university of missouri logo

In response, individuals from the American Academy of Nursing’s (AAN) Women’s Health Expert Panel (WHEP) crafted arapid response that was published in the Huffington Post on November 13, 2015.  Since this post, national attention has been growing about issues with political interference in SRH care and academic freedom in women’s health care research, practice, and education. These political attacks on faculty and students are happening in other states and are likely to gain traction in months, ahead, especially in the current political climate.

AAN opposes attempts to regulate instruction and research related to sexual and reproductive health —

In response to these threats, the AAN Board of Directors approved a position statement titled Political Interference in Sexual & Reproductive Health Research and Education (December 14, 2016) that focused on:

  1. Strong support of academic freedom principles and policies in institutions of higher education generally, and in those offering instruction in nursing particularly; and
  2. Opposition to attempts by state politicians and/or academic administrators to regulate instruction and research related to SRH based on ideology and not on principles of academic freedom and standards or competencies for practice related to SRH.

View the full position statement >> 2017 Position Statement – Political Interference 1.9.17 FINAL

American Academy of Nursing Logo

The AAN’s Position Statement on Political Interference will serve as a starting point for engaging other professional, educational and advocacy organizations to support widely endorsed standards of SRH care and health professional education and bring attention to political interference in evidence-based SRH care research and health professional education. Nursing Leader-Activists participating in the crafting of the AAN’s Position Statement include Diana Taylor (RhN leader), Nancy Woods, Ellen Olshansky, Judith Berg, Amy Levi (RhN leader), Monica McLemore (RhN Leader), Candace Burton, Versie Johnson-Mallard, Mona Shatell, and Barbara Safriet.