Earlier this year, anti-choice advocates in Wisconsin secured a provision in the state budget to classify University of Wisconsin as a “state agency,” thus prohibiting the organization from using public funds to pay or train medical residents to perform abortions. And now, conservatives in the state are asking Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to take “immediate steps” to enforce the measure:
“Our University of Wisconsin public entities should not be ground zero for training abortionists,” said Virginia Zignego, communications director of Pro-Life Wisconsin and a UW-Madison graduate. “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.” [...]
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. To view the rotation schedule, click here. To view the signed contract between UW and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, click here.
University of Wisconsin argues that it already allows residents with moral objections to opt out of the abortion rotations and points out that without proper abortion residency, “its gynecology and obstetrics training program could lose its accreditation and women in Wisconsin could lose access to many health services across the state, not just abortions.” Wisconsin doctors would also lack critical medical skills that could endanger women’s lives. As Dr. Fredrik Broekhuizen, the medical director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, says, “There are situations where patients have fetal death in utero at 16 to 18 weeks of gestation. The mode of delivery in the case of a dead fetus is exactly the same procedure as an abortion procedure. So learning these techniques is an essential part of what an ob/gyn needs to know in order to provide comprehensive care to women, regardless of where they choose to practice.”
In May, Republicans in the House of Representatives approved a similar residency measure “that would prevent a federal healthcare education fund from being used for abortion or to provide for training for abortion procedures.” Thirteen Democrats voted for it, and 10 Republicans voted against it.