Missouri state senator aims to block student's dissertation on abortion

Hidden in all the other chaos at the University of Missouri earlier this month was this story, in which a Missouri state senator tried to prevent a student from completing a dissertation about abortion. As far as I can tell, the attempt was unsuccessful and the dissertation will be completed. However, it's not necessarily because academic freedom prevailed -- rather, the student and university showed that the dissertation work was not funded through scholarships and grants from the university or otherwise tied to state funding, which could be construed as against Missouri's law that prohibits using public funds to promote non-life-saving abortions. Academic content standards like the Common Core are a hot-button topic. Not as hot as abortion, I'd say, but still hot enough that I would not be shocked to hear about anti-Common Core lawmakers attempting to muck around in the work of those of us who study academic standards like the CCSS. We're still seeing resistance from science committee members of the U.S. House of Representatives who think it should be up to them to decide what the National Science Foundation finds worthy of funding (http://news.sciencemag.org/policy/2015/10/nsf-peer-review-remains-target-congress), as they question climate science research and various kinds of work in the social sciences. As a grad student whose primary funding came from the NSF, I'd rather Lamar Smith not get to pick and choose what research he likes and dislikes. Similarly, I think we need research to better understand how abortion policies affect the lives of women, regardless of the source of funding.