Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate are currently debating a bill which could potentially block faculty at University of Wisconsin-Madison from teaching OB-GYN residents how to perform abortions.
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted earlier this month to advance a bill that has the support of some of the Legislature’s most conservative members, but has drawn opposition from UW-Madison officials.
Representative André Jacque, who wrote the bill, believes the university’s current partnership with Planned Parenthood uses tax payer’s dollars to pay for abortions.
“This is something where clearly you don’t need an arrangement anywhere near approaching what the UW has with Planned Parenthood where you actually have UW employees who are basically being paid while they are medical staff at Planned Parenthood,” Jacque said.
But UW-Madison officials say they must abortion training in the OBGYN program to keep their accreditation. Implementation of the bill might lead to the loss of this accreditation and would undermine the program.
According to Dr. Robert Golden, Dean of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, if the accreditation is lost no student in the country would want to study at the school. He believes the residency training program would immediately shut down, an action that could cause a domino effect touching everything from UW-Madison’s rankings to the number of OBGYNs in the state of Wisconsin.
Twenty of Wisconsin’s 72 counties already lack an OBGYN, according to the American Medical Society. This bill also comes as the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health introduced the nation’s first-ever rural obstetrics and gynecology residency program.
“This would be a crushing blow to the women of Wisconsin. This would have a devastating impact on access to highly qualified specialists,” Dr. Golden said.
The Wisconsin Senators are still deliberating whether or not they should pass this legislation.