Newly publicized plans for the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics to perform second-trimester abortions in a jointly-operated clinic have attracted protest from employees of the clinic and the Alliance Defense Fund. The pro-life group claims the “secret and potentially illegal plans” would likely compel pro-life medical professionals to cooperate in unethical acts and could provide fetal remains for medical research.
The plans, made public by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) on Tuesday, show that University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics (UWHC) is planning a full-service second-trimester abortion practice at the Madison Surgery Center. The center is a joint venture of UWHC, UW Medical Foundation, and Meriter Hospital and currently does not provide any services related to abortion.
The practice was planned after second-trimester abortionist Dr. Dennis Christensen retired in December from the Madison Abortion Clinic, leaving no local provider of late-term abortions.
Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions up to the 18th week of pregnancy, took over Christensen’s clinic. Later-term abortions are being referred to a clinic in Milwaukee, with the new joint clinic being intended to perpetrate such abortions in the Madison area, the Associated Press reports.
UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette told the AP that UW Health gynecologists plan to begin performing abortions at the Madison Surgery Center for patients who are between 13 and 22 weeks pregnant, pending approval from the center’s board possibly later this month.
Acknowledging that state-paid doctors working for the university would perform the abortions, Brunette said UW Health lawyers were comfortable the plan is legal. The abortions themselves will reportedly be paid by insurance and patient fees, and not with public money.
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) protested the plans in a Tuesday letter to the presidents and CEOs of UWHC, Meriter Hospital, and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation.
Expressing “grave concerns” about the second-trimester abortion clinic plans, the letter reported that the abortions will be performed by UWHC’s Dr. Caryn R. Dutton, to whom Dr. Christensen has referred his clients.
Unborn children in the second trimester of pregnancy are almost fully formed and have brain functions and limb movements.
“They yawn, roll over, and touch their faces,” the ADF letter said, adding that ultrasounds have showed them playing and swimming in the womb.
According to the ADF, second-trimester abortions are usually performed using “dilation and evacuation” methods:
“[T]he abortionist rips the child’s arms and legs off piecemeal and pulls them out with forceps. These dismemberments are followed by the child’s torso and head, the latter of which is sometimes so large that it needs to be crushed until the baby’s brains are observed flowing out of the uterus.”
Additionally, the ADF claimed that University of Wisconsin medical residents are expected to train and take part in the killing of unborn children in the second trimester of gestation.
The second-term abortions “will likely be used to train medical residents to dismember second-trimester babies, and they may well serve as a fresh source of baby body parts for various UW research projects as has occurred in the past,” the ADF added.
University of Wisconsin researchers Ian Duncan, Su-Chen Zhang, Hans Sollinger and Debra Hullett have reportedly published studies that, according to the ADF, indicate “they experiment on fresh fetal brains and pancreases from second-trimester abortions, apparently obtained from the victims of Madison abortionist Dennis Christensen.”
“UWHC may well be pushing abortions into the Madison Surgery Center, via their own in-house abortionist Dutton, so that they will have fresh and inexpensive baby body parts for various researchers to dissect,” the ADF alleged.
“Well over 100 abortions will be performed yearly under this plan, mostly on healthy babies and healthy mothers, as well as on multiple babies with disabilities who are currently killed at Meriter,” the ADF letter said. “
Speaking to CNA over the phone on Tuesday, ADF legal counsel Matthew Bowman explained that his organization became aware of the UWHC plan when an employee of Madison Surgery Center contacted them with concerns about being forced to help perform abortions.
According to Bowman, he found that “many of the employees of Madison Surgery Center strongly object to this proposed practice, but officials from UWHC are using strong-arm tactics to install Dutton’s late-abortion practice there regardless of the employees’ own views on the matter.”
When asked to explain how UWHC attempted to keep its plan to convert the outpatient surgery center into a late-term abortion facility secret, Bowman said, “Up to now, they’ve never publicized it, and they were not ever planning on publicizing it. They were planning on keeping it quiet and intimidating the employees into not talking about it,” he asserted.
The ADF also advised that the plan may violate various federal and state laws either by compelling employees to aid in or refer for the abortions, or by improperly using government funds and agencies to assist in abortion.
“Many Madison Surgery Center employees believe that turning their workplace into an abortion facility will severely upset regular patients, disrupt the respected surgical practice that currently occurs there, decimate employee morale (as it has already threatened to do), require burdensome policy changes, and compel direct or indirect staff participation in the dismemberment of these viable and near-viable preborn infants.”
“We ask you to rethink this plan of tainting the UWHC with late abortions, and of imposing the abortion industry on the undesiring staff of the Madison Surgical Center,” the ADF letter urged.
The letter was also sent to the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which enforces conscience protection rules instituted by the outgoing Bush administration on behalf of pro-life medical professionals, among others.
“Christians and other pro-life medical students and staff should be allowed to abide by their beliefs,” Bowman said in a Tuesday press release. “Pro-life employees shouldn’t be forced to violate their conscience by participating in the killing of preborn, developed babies. The university’s plan is morally and legally flawed and should be abandoned.”