UW officially drops second-trimester abortion plan Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 -- 10:49 AM
Pro-lifer protests outside the Madison Surgery Center in 2009.
A pro-lifer protests outside the Madison Surgery Center in 2009.

MADISON -- UW Health released a statement December 13 confirming that the Madison Surgery Center (MSC) will not be involved in second-trimester abortions.

"UW's statement validates what we have suspected for a year," Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, said in a press release December 13. "As 2010 draws to a close, we thank God for concluding this horrifying chapter in the ongoing struggle with UW's commitment to abortion."

Since the abortion plan was revealed in January 2009, pro-life organizations in the area have organized prayer vigils, rallies, petitions, and boycotts. Madison's Vigil for Life held a 40 Days for Life vigil at the site earlier this year and the Knights of Divine Mercy organized a Stations of the Cross. Pro-Life Wisconsin aired commercials against the plan, and has said that its Web site will remain online until UW renounces its commitment to abortion completely.

Earlier in May, UW Health had stated that the organization remained committed to including second-trimester abortion among its reproductive health services. The statement December 13 said that "UW Health leaders continue to believe and support that women should have access to this legal option as part of comprehensive reproductive health care."

MSC is a joint venture by UW Hospital and Clinics, UW Medical Foundation, and Meriter Hospital. Amid controversy and protests by the pro-life community, the center's board approved introducing second-trimester abortion care at the clinic in February 2009, but as of May 2010 had not implemented the plan. UW Health, in its statements, has indicated that "patient safety and privacy" were among the concerns delaying the offering of second-trimester abortions.

"MSC has now concluded that the open and multi-purpose nature of the 1 S. Park campus makes it very difficult to guarantee the safety and security that all patients deserve," UW Health said in its statement December 13.

Pro-life groups, in responding to the news, praised the persistence of all who were engaged in the fight against the plan to offer abortions as advanced as 23 weeks into pregnancy at MSC.

"We applaud the pro-life medical staff of the Madison Surgery Center who spoke in public opposition to this plan," Hamill continued. "Wisconsin already has one late-term abortion facility in Milwaukee, killing viable babies. Wisconsinites oppose dragging our publicly-funded state university even further into the abortion business."

"Wisconsin Right to Life has vigorously fought the late-term abortion plan since its inception," said Susan Armacost, legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life. "We are thankful that there will be no late-term abortion facility at the Madison Surgery Center or at any UW facility. Many MSC employees, numerous MSC patients and Wisconsin citizens spoke out in opposition to the late-term abortion plan at this facility. They are to be commended. This is a tremendous victory for unborn children."

"The lesson of this historic announcement is clear: prayer works," said Vigil for Life in a statement December 13. "The power of peaceful, prayerful witness foiled the evil works of the most powerful institution in Wisconsin. We now focus our efforts on Planned Parenthood.

"We didn't rest until abortion plans ended at the MSC. We will not rest until Planned Parenthood is closed forever."

Vigil for Life released a plan on December 7 to hold constant vigil at the Planned Parenthood Clinic on Orin Rd. on Madison's east side. The goal of the daily vigil is to put further pressure on the abortion-providing organization.

Details and sign-up for the "365 for Life" initiative are expected to be available soon at the organization's Web site, Contact Laura Karlen at 608-445-2064 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

According to Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person, procured abortion is gravely contrary to moral law. In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II confirmed the Church's teaching on abortion as "unchanged and unchangeable," saying that abortion willed as an end or means "always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church's tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church."

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