Wisconsin Bill Would Forbid UW-Madison From Teaching OB/GYN Residents How to Perform Abortions
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A GOP bill would block faculty at University of
Wisconsin-Madison from teaching OB-GYN residents how to perform
abortions. Because a foolproof way of improving women’s
healthcare is to make doctors worse at their jobs.
The bill, AB206, authored by state Rep. Andre
Jacque (R-De Pere), argues teaching abortion at a public
university technically qualifies as using state dollars to pay
for abortion, since some training takes place at Planned
The UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Aurora Health
Care and the Medical College of Wisconsin all train OB-GYN
residents in how to perform abortions.
Wisconsin law blocks spending public dollars on elective
abortions, so the UW-Madison medical school has an agreement
with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin in which that
organization pays UW physicians to perform abortions and
train OB-GYN residents in how to perform abortions at its
Jacque’s bill, introduced in April, would prohibit UW-Madison
employees from performing abortions as well as training
others or receiving training in performing abortions anywhere
other than a hospital. Since the training requires
participating in abortions and government dollars can’t be
used to facilitate abortions, the training can’t take place
at the university hospital. That would leave nowhere for
UW-Madison residents to obtain it. They would have to join
another residency program if they wanted to become a
“I’m trying to get UW out of the abortion business,” Jacque
told the Journal-Sentinel. “I’m on pretty firm ground
Jacque reportedly said that residents could seek abortion
training on their own, and doctors wishing to perform abortions
could get second jobs at Planned Parenthood locations. This, of
course, ignores the most basic reality that abortions can be
necessary to save the life of a mother, and that a generation
of doctors untrained in the procedure would likely result in
the loss of life. It also ignores the also-obvious reality that
abortions are a legal and vital component of women’s health.
Not only is the bill logically asinine, it puts the medical
school at odds with accreditation requirements: the
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education writes that for an OB-GYN
training program to qualify, it must “provide training or
access to training the provision of abortions, and this must be
part of the planned curriculum.” Trainees who object to
abortions can opt out, according to the guidelines.
The guidelines also state that residents need to have
experience managing complications of abortions and training in
every form of contraception, including sterilization.
Not only would the bill conceivably deter residents from the
institution, it would also likely increase a drastic shortage
of qualified OB-GYNs in the state. According to data provided
by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,
there are no OB-GYNs practicing in 1/3 of the 72 counties in
Wisconsin. In Douglas County, which has a population of 44,159,
there is only one.
To combat the shortage, Wisconsin was recently the first state to offer a rural residency
training track in obstetrics and gynecology. The bill could
effectively shut it down.
“Wisconsin women will suffer if this bill passes,” reads a
statement from ACOG. “Abortion training is required for safe
patient care, management of complications of pregnancy and
abortion, and to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.
Maternal mortality in the US is rising and is the worst in the
“Legislative interference will close the OB/GYN residency
program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and
Public Health reducing the number of practicing OB/GYNs in