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Pro-lifers celebrate news abortion plan is dropped, questions remain Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Wednesday, May. 05, 2010 -- 2:12 PM
Pro-lifers rally outside the Madison Surgery enter in February.
Pro-lifers rally outside the Madison Surgery Center at 1 S. Park St. in Madison in February. (CH file photo)

Editor's note: Updated to include new information from UW Health.

MADISON -- Pro-life groups are claiming victory following the announcement that plans have been dropped to perform abortions at the Madison Surgery Center (MSC).

According to a letter from Kevin Potter, assistant attorney general for the State of Wisconsin, to an attorney in Eau Claire, released by Pro-Life Wisconsin and dated April 30, the University of Wisconsin has abandoned plans to provide late-term abortion services at the MSC.

However, a statement from UW Health has contradicted reports.

"There are reports in today's media that UW Health has abandoned its plans to provide second trimester pregnancy terminations. This is not true," UW Health Marketing and Public Affairs said in a statement released May 5.

"UW Health remains strongly committed to a comprehensive women's reproductive health service that includes this important procedure," the statement continued. "All of our clinical programs are designed and implemented to best serve the needs of our patients. Because of the sensitive nature of this clinical program, we do not consider it in the best interests of our patients to discuss the timing or location of these services. We remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that area women have access to a comprehensive women's health program."

The news release did not say whether abortion services would be provided at the Madison Surgery Center.

Pro-life groups had been jubilant earlier in the day when the news of the letter from the attorney general's office was released.

"We give credit first and foremost to God for this pro-life victory," said Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin in a news release May 5. "Pro-life grassroots activism works. We have held countless prayer vigils, attended by thousands; aired hundreds of pro-life television commercials in the Madison area; tens of thousands of people signed our pro-life petition; and hundreds boycotted the Madison Surgery Center. We have maintained a daily prayer presence outside the MSC, and our NoUWabortions.com Web site has served as a virtual hub of resistance."

"We give credit first and foremost to God for this pro-life victory," said Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin in a news release May 5. "Pro-life grassroots activism works. We have held countless prayer vigils, attended by thousands; aired hundreds of pro-life television commercials in the Madison area; tens of thousands of people signed our pro-life petition; and hundreds boycotted the Madison Surgery Center. We have maintained a daily prayer presence outside the MSC, and our NoUWabortions.com Web site has served as a virtual hub of resistance."

Pro-life groups have rallied since news of the plans were discovered in January 2009, with multiple gatherings, a persistent pro-life presence outside the proposed location at 1 S. Park St., and a 40 Days for Life vigil there during the 2010 Lenten season. The MSC is jointly operated by Meriter Hospital, UW Hospitals and Clinics, and the UW Medical Foundation.

"Many individuals and organizations made this possible by their calls, letters, e-mails, and presence outside the Madison Surgery Center," Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said in a news release. "Special thanks and praise go to those who work at the Madison Surgery Center who refused to participate in any way in providing late-term abortions and individuals who courageously changed their doctors and insurance rather than be treated at the Madison Surgery Center."

Madison Vigil for Life co-director Steve Karlen described the moment of hearing the news as one of "total elation."

"We had an inkling this would be the case," Karlen said, "but the fact that we now have a definite statement for it is a great victory for Catholics, Christians, and all pro-lifers out there."

The efforts to defeat the plan came from the persistence of the pro-life effort. "It wasn't politicians or judges or people with money and influence that won this battle," Vigil for Life wrote in its press release. "It was the humble, the meek, and the lowly who came before God asking for deliverance. The working dads. The mothers and children. Retirees and students. The Lord has done great things for us, and Holy is His Name!"

"All of the regular 'meat and potatoes' Catholics and pro-lifers in general, who faithfully and sacrificially helped in this effort, through prayer or street activism, can be very satisfied that Our Lord took their 'loaves and fishes' and brought about a successful result," said Patrick Delaney, respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Madison. "I can't help but thank Vigil for Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin in particular for their efforts in this regard. We all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude."

Last Updated on Wednesday, May. 05, 2010 -- 4:48 PM
 
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