Wisconsin Pro-Life Group: Uphold Abortion Training Funding Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 8, 2011   |   1:02PM   |   Madison, WI

A pro-life legal group has sent a letter to the state attorney general on behalf of a Wisconsin pro-life organization requesting that the state’s top attorney uphold and enforce a ban on funding abortion training.

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys sent a letter Tuesday on Pro-Life Wisconsin’s behalf to Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requesting that he uphold a state law that makes it illegal for the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority to pay physicians for performing abortions at a Planned Parenthood facility. UWHCA wants to continue its funding of abortions through training; this coming after its vow to end its state-funded late-term abortion program last year after pressure from ADF attorneys.

“State agency medical facilities should only be training and paying residents to protect and preserve preborn children–not destroy them,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman.  “State law makes it illegal for state entities, including the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority, to fund the killing of preborn children through training or other programs. We are confident that Attorney General Van Hollen will acknowledge that UWHCA is not above the law.”

In June, the Joint Finance Committee in the Wisconsin legislature approved a provision that would limit the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority Board on late-term abortions.

The measure specifically prohibits the UW board from paying physicians or surgeons or a hospital, clinic or other medical facility for the performance of an abortion except as specified in Wisconsin’s current abortion-funding law. State law (Wis. Stat. 20.927) prohibits the funds of the state or of a state agency from being spent on the performance of an abortion.

But, the UWHCA claims that the law does not apply to it, despite the act clearly identifying UWHCA as a state “agency.”

“The UWHCA must not be allowed to ignore its legal obligations by pursuing or continuing any scheme in which it seeks to fund the performance of abortions,” the ADF letter to the attorney general states. “The State of Wisconsin has decided that neither ‘funds of the state’ nor ‘funds of state agencies,’ including funds of UWHCA, should pay for abortions.”

Virginia Zignego, communications director of Pro-Life Wisconsin and a UW-Madison graduate, also commented on the letter to Van Hollen.

“Our University of Wisconsin public entities should not be ground zero for training abortionists,” she told LifeNews. “Residents need to be instructed how to save, preserve and respect life, not how to kill preborn children at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, the state’s number-one abortion provider.”

“Wisconsin law is crystal clear: No state agency can fund abortions,” said Matt Sande, legislative director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. “The UWHC Authority is a state agency, and it is not above the law. We look forward to Attorney General Van Hollen’s confirmation and enforcement of this critical law so that the UWHC does not stubbornly persist in their illegal and offensive abortion funding.”

In January 2009, ADF uncovered UWHCA’s plans to create a full-service practice for the aborting of 19-22-week-old preborn children, which would have likely involved medical residents participating in the killing of second-trimester babies. Prior to that time, the second-trimester abortions had occurred at Planned Parenthood. ADF attorneys sent a letter that year urging UWHCA to cease it plans for the late-term abortion program, which UWHCA subsequently confirmed it would end at the Madison Surgery Center last December.

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.

When legislators passed the new provision in June, they did so also at the behest of Wisconsin Right to Life, whose legislative director told LifeNews more about the problems.

“We remember only too well the brazen attempts of UW a couple of years ago to set up a late-term abortion facility at the Madison Surgery Center,” she said. It was only because of a huge outcry by the public and many employees of the Madison Surgery Center that UW finally backed down and nixed the deadly project.  The motion passed last night means that the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority Board will no longer be able to plot behind the scenes to find ways to use taxpayer dollars to pay doctors and facilities to perform abortions.”