Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Asks Atty General About UW Funding Abortion Training

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Pro-Life Group Asks Atty General About UW Funding Abortion Training

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 19
, 2010

Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — A Wisconsin pro-life group is following up on its concerns that the University of Wisconsin may have illegally spent neatly $59,000 funding internships for medical students at abortion centers. Pro-Life Wisconsin Friday sent a letter to the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office.

In the letter to J.b. Van Hollen, officials with the group inquire about whether UW spending $58,878 since 2007 for student abortion training is unlawful.

The letter cites state law prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds to pay for elective abortions or to abortion centers.

The request, joined by the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life legal group, asks for an opinion on whether it is illegal for the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority [UWHCA] to pay resident physicians while they are being trained to do abortions at Planned Parenthood in Madison.

“Our University of Wisconsin state agencies should not be a training ground for abortionists,” Virginia Zignego, communications director of Pro-Life Wisconsin and a UW-Madison graduate, told LifeNews.com today. “The UW Hospital is breaking the law by paying medical residents to perform abortions. Residents need to be instructed how to save, preserve and respect life, not how to kill preborn children.”

In March, LifeNews.com reported that James Dechene, senior vice president and general counsel for UWHCA, sent a letter to the pro-life groups in response to the open records request.

“Medical residents from the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority [UWHCA] participate in training at the Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) facility in Madison, WI… UWHCA continues to pay its residents while they are in training at PPWI,” he explained.

The pro-life organizations point to Statute 20.927 of Wisconsin law stating, “No funds of this state or of any… agency of this state… shall be authorized for or paid to a physician or surgeon or a hospital, clinic or other medical facility for the performance of an abortion.”

They also cite Statute 20.9275, which prohibits spending state funds on programs that provide, encourage, or refer for abortions.

“Wisconsin law is very clear: No state agency can fund abortion or abortion programs,” said Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. “The UWHCA is a state agency, and it is not above the law. We look forward to Attorney General Van Hollen’s opinion on this critical matter.”

The records show medical residents in the UW School of Medicine Ob/Gyn Department have two four-week rotations at Planned Parenthood, where they view and participate in abortions.

The records also contain a November 14, 2008 email, in which Carl Getto, M.D., the senior vice president of medical affairs at UWHC, stated, “UWHC has been paying for the [Planned Parenthood] rotation to date. We will continue to do so. Please let Planned Parenthood know.”

The groups also point to a November-December 2008 email exchange where Gloria Frane, an employee of the UW School of Medicine Ob/Gyn Department, stated that UW paid abortion practitioner Caryn Dutton and two companions to travel to the University of North Carolina to view how late-term abortions are done there.

Frane concludes the email with, “I hope the ladies’ trip re: the pregnancy [termination] was a success!”

Related web sites:
Students’ abortion rotation
Signed contract – https://www.prolifewisconsin.org/releases/MOU_PPWI_UW.pdf
Wisconsin Attorney General – https://www.doj.state.wi.us/ag

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