Wisconsin University Hospital Board OKs Abortion Center Plan, Fight Continues
by Steven Ertelt
February 5, 2009
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — During a contentious meeting yesterday, the Authority Board of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics approved a plan to create a second trimester abortion facility. Several pro-life groups attended the meeting to head off the idea, but the Board voted 11-3 to do abortions at the Madison Surgery Center.
The board took three hours of testimony before deciding to allow abortions on women 19 to 22 weeks into pregnancy.
UW Hospital, the UW Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital are behind the plan, hatched a result of the retirement of a local abortion practitioner, Dennis Christensen, who did abortions that far along.
Although the plan to create the new abortion center received the board’s approval, officials with Wisconsin Right to Life tell LifeNews.com that at least one more board vote, and perhaps others, is necessary to finalize it.
"If you are under the impression that this horrendous abortion plan has received final approval, that is not the case," the group told pro-life advocates in an action alert.
WRTL and other groups have already presented tens of thousands of petitions from pro-life people opposed to the plan and the group says "the only way to defeat this is through intense public pressure."
The final decision on the abortion center is up to the surgery center’s board, which is expected to act in a private meeting on Friday.
During the hearing, Board Chairman David Walsh said women have a right to the later-term abortions and that the center is needed because there is no other facility in Wisconsin that will do abortions after 19 weeks of pregnancy.
"Is there another place to do this? If there isn’t, what’s our responsibility as a great institution to provide full medical care? That’s where I turn on my decision," he said. "I feel we have to go ahead and approve this because we have that responsibility. We can’t be part of a conspiracy to deny a constitutional right."
Pablo Sanchez, former UW Extension Chancellor, Patrick Boyle and cardiologist Humberto Vidaillet were the only three members of the board to oppose the proposal.
Laurel Rice, chair of UW’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, testified during the hearing and said she expected the new center to do about 120-125 abortions annually. Most of them would be done in cases of rape or incest or on disabled babies.
Pro-life advocates accuse those behind the plan of wanting to profit from doing abortions.
Officials will 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. Marys Hospital.
About 8,200 Wisconsin women get abortions every year and 9 percent came in the sixteenth week of pregnancy or later.
Related web sites:
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.WisconsinRightToLife.org
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