Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Antiabortion Groups Protest University of Wisconsin Plan To Provide Second-Trimester Abortions
Via Daily Women's Health Policy Report:
A pending University of Wisconsin plan to provide second-trimester abortions at its Madison Surgery Center is drawing criticism from antiabortion-rights groups, which are questioning the legality of the plan, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. The Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based antiabortion-rights group, sent a letter to university officials urging them to stop the plan, saying that performing abortion procedures at the surgery center might violate a state law that prohibits federal or state funds from being used to pay physicians or clinics that perform abortions. In the letter, ADF lawyer Thomas Bowman wrote that "[m]any ... employees" believe that performing abortion procedures at the center would "severely upset regular patients, disrupt the respected surgical practice that currently occurs there, decimate employee morale, require burdensome policy changes and compel direct or indirect staff participation" in the procedures....
Lisa Brunette, the university's health spokesperson, said that state physicians employed by the university would perform the procedures and that the procedures would be paid for by patients or insurance companies, not by public funding. Brunette also said that employees would be able to opt out of a procedure and that medical students would only be trained on the procedures if they elect to do so. Wisconsin state law prohibits employers from penalizing health care workers who refuse to "recommend, aid or perform" abortions because of moral objections. Brunette said the plan is awaiting final approval from the surgery center's board, which will meet later this month. The university's lawyers are confident that the plan is legal, she added.