University of Wisconsin Denies Plans Dropped for Later-Term Abortion Center

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 5, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

University of Wisconsin Denies Plans Dropped for Late-Term Abortion Center

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 5
, 2010

Madison, WI ( — The University of Wisconsin is denying it has dropped its controversial plans for a late-term abortion facility at the Madison Surgery Center, a joint venture between UW Hospital and Clinics, Meriter Hospital and the UW Medical Foundation.

Leading pro-life advocates opposed to the plan received a letter saying it will not proceed, but the University denied that was the case later in the day.

Last year, pro-life groups including the Alliance Defense Fund, Pro-Life Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Right to Life exposed the plan for the new UW abortion center and led opposition to it.

Now, ADF has received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Justice stating that the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics has abandoned its plans.

Assistant Attorney General Kevin Potter, in a letter to an Eau Claire attorney, stated, “We have also been in contact with legal counsel for the University of Wisconsin (UW) to determine how the proposed services would be provided."

"We have been awaiting response from the UW on the final plans before replying to your letter. It is my understanding based on recent information from the UW that they have now abandoned plans to provide late-term abortion services at MSC," the letter went on to say.

But University of Wisconsin Health issued a statement late int he day saying that’s not the case.

"UW Health remains strongly committed to a comprehensive women’s reproduction health service that includes this important procedure," the sattement said, according to AP.

The pro-life groups had been concerned that it posed a threat to the religious conscience rights of pro-life employees by potentially requiring them to participate in abortions. They also worried the new abortion center may constitute an unlawful state funding of abortion.

“The UWHC and other medical facilities involved made the right decision to terminate this covert program, which threatened to require pro-life employees to violate their consciences by participating in the killing of pre-born, developed babies," ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman told today before the UW statement.

“Christians and other pro-life medical students and staff shouldn’t be forced to compromise their beliefs to maintain their positions,” he said.

Wisconsin Right to Life officials said, before the new statement, they were delighted by the news.

“It is a complete victory for unborn children who would have been victims of late-term abortions, their mothers, their families, the grassroots people who demanded that the late-term abortion plan be stopped, and the citizens of Wisconsin,” said Barbara Lyons, director of the organization.

"Special thanks and praise go to those who work at the Madison Surgery Center who refused to participate in any way in providing late-term abortions and individuals who courageously changed their doctors and insurance rather than be treated at the Madison Surgery Center,’ she added.

Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, also contacted about the letter earlier in the day.

“Pro-life grassroots activism works. We have held countless prayer vigils, attended by thousands; aired hundreds of pro-life television commercials in the Madison area; tens of thousands of people signed our pro-life petition; and hundreds boycotted the Madison Surgery Center," she said.

Virginia Zignego, Pro-Life Wisconsin communications director and a UW-Madison graduate, added, “We are happy to announce that our boycott of the Madison Surgery Center has ended, and we applaud the pro-life medical staff of the Madison Surgery Center who spoke in public opposition to this senseless plan."

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