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Wisconsin: Did You Know?

Did you know that anti-choice activists forced the University of Wisconsin health system to abandon plans to provide abortion care at its medical center?

In January 2009, University of Wisconsin (UW Health) announced plans to begin providing abortion care through the second trimester at the Madison Surgery Center following the retirement of the only other abortion provider in the city of Madison. Predictably, anti-choice groups loudly opposed the decision; one even vowed that the employees of the Madison Surgery Center could “be assured of a constant… presence outside their building as long as the killing continues.”

This inflammatory rhetoric sparked a two-year public controversy, during which anti-choice activists upheld their promise to picket the surgery center on a daily basis.  Sadly, after officials were not able to identify an alternative location where the care could be provided, UW Health was forced to abandon their plans out of a concern for “patient safety and privacy,” according to spokeswoman Lisa Brunette.

The decision to abandon plans  was “incredibly disappointing,” said Lisa Subeck, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, according to news reports .  “I would have hoped [UW Health] would have continued its commitment to the entire spectrum of women’s reproductive health.”  The development leaves a Milwaukee clinic as the only location in the state where women can obtain abortion care through the second trimester.

Antiabortion Groups Protest University Of Wisconsin Plan To Provide Second-Trimester Abortions, Medical News Today, Jan 9, 2009.  Doug Erickson, UW Health Gives Up Search For 2nd Trimester Abortion Site, Wisconsin State Journal, December 13, 2010. Press Release, Pro-Life Wisconsin, UW and Meriter Hospitals Secretly Plan Late-Term Abortions at Madison Surgery Center (January 6, 2009) available at (last visited January 11, 2011).


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