Wisconsin Lawmakers Want University Hospital to Drop Plans to Do Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 22, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Lawmakers Want University Hospital to Drop Plans to Do Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 22
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Wisconsin legislators are urging officials at the University of Wisconsin to back down on a plan to begin doing abortions. Earlier this month, pro-life advocates exposed a plan by physicians at UW to do abortions at the Madison Surgery Center.

The plan has UW Hospitals and Clinics, the UW Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital opening up a second-trimester abortion facility.

Now, more than two dozen Wisconsin lawmakers have signed a letter asked for the plan to be scrapped. The 28 Republican senators and representatives and one independent penned the letter to Hospital CEO Donna Katen-Bahensky on Thursday.

The letter calls the idea to do second trimester abortions “barbaric” and asks Katen-Bahensky to prevent it from moving forward.

The legislators presented a copy of their letter at a Madison press conference.

“To create a situation in which the university would be affiliated with ending the lives of those babies is just appalling,” Sen. Glenn Grothman said at the event. “If this plan goes ahead, the university hospital is going to be known as the late-term abortion clinic for south-central Wisconsin. Obviously, that’s wrong.”

Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, applauded the letter and said her group is continuing to put together petition drives, rallies and e-mail campaigns opposing the plan.

If the doctors follow through on their plan, they will do abortions at the Madison Surgery Center, which is a joint center sponsored by UW Health and Meriter Hospital. The center’s six-member board would have to sign off on the abortion plan and it plans to meet next month to discuss it.

UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette previously told the Capital Times, "The physicians involved believe this is part of a comprehensive plan of care for reproductive health."

She said the decision came about because a local abortion practitioner to did the second-trimester abortions recently retired.

"Right now there is no clinic in the area that provides that type of termination and the physicians involved believe there is a public health responsibility to provide them, so they wish to move forward," she said.

Brunette also promised that state funds would not be used to pay for abortions and that anyone getting an abortion would pay for it themselves or through health insurance.

She would not publicly name the physicians involved in the new abortion plan, but LifeNews.com learned that UW Health physician Caryn R. Dutton, of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department, will do the late-term abortions.

Dutton is also affiliated with Meriter Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital.

About 8,000 Wisconsin women get abortions every year and 18 percent came in the 13th week of pregnancy or later.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, informed LifeNews.com of the plan earlier this month after getting information from employees of the medical center who were unhappy after they learned of the idea.

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