MADISON — Thirty years ago a young doctor finished medical school. He wanted to help people by treating diseases.
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| || Dr. Haywood Robinson speaks to over 800 people attending a pro-life rally held on the Library Mall in Madison to protest a plan to provide second-trimester abortions at the Madison Surgery Center. (Catholic Herald photo by Joe Ptak)|
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In his first year of practice, he began delivering babies. He found it to be an awesome experience.
But to earn some extra money, he also began to perform abortions. At first he experienced uneasiness, but soon it became easier.
That young doctor was Dr. Haywood Robinson. He talked about his conversion to the pro-life cause at a rally on the State St. Mall on the University of Wisconsin campus on Saturday, Jan. 31. Over 800 people from throughout Wisconsin attended the rally, many carrying signs such as “What about the baby’s rights” and “Thou shalt not kill.”
After “coming to know the Lord,” Robinson said he now thinks of his payment for performing abortions as “blood money.”
He insisted that doctors “can’t have it both ways.” They can’t take care of pregnant women who want their children on one hand and kill the babies of those who don’t want them on the other.
Robinson, who is chief of staff at the College Station Medical Center in College Station, Texas, urged the crowd to “hold people accountable” at the University of Wisconsin and Meriter Hospital, which are partners in the Madison Surgery Center. Plans are being proposed to offer second-trimester abortions at the Surgery Center.
“They can’t open a death camp in Madison,” Robinson told the rally.
Stand up for most vulnerable
Shawn Carney, co-founder of the 40 Days for Life campaign, also spoke at the rally. Carney launched the campaign from College Station, Texas, in 2004. Forty Days for Life encourages people to pray and witness at abortion clinics.
Carney emphasized one fact: “Abortion kills a baby.” Quoting Mother Teresa, he urged the crowd, “You have to stand up for the most vulnerable among us.”
Light pink and blue balloons and large pictures of babies decorated the speakers’ platform at the rally, reminders that those gathered do indeed support the right to life of all babies.
The effort to oppose late-term abortions at the Madison Surgery Center has drawn together an unprecedented coalition of pro-life groups. Representatives of many of those groups spoke briefly at the rally.
Will win this battle
Among them was Fr. Rick Heilman, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff and St. Ignatius Parish in Mt. Horeb in the Diocese of Madison.
Father Heilman said our ancestors in the United States have fought against injustices and atrocities in the past. He said they fought battles for civil rights for minorities and women’s right to vote.
“We will fight this battle and we will win it,” said the priest, encouraging those present to pray and sacrifice for the pro-life cause.
Doctors coming forward
Dr. Bill Evans, a Madison physician, also spoke to the rally. He and a group of 12 other local doctors signed a letter asking Meriter and the university to abandon their plans to perform abortions in their facilities.
Evans said there is an “ever-growing” group of doctors who are coming forward and saying “no, we cannot continue this insanity. We can be silent no more.”
State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) also spoke against the abortion proposal. He noted that over half a million unborn babies were killed in Wisconsin between 1974 and 2007 following the 1973 abortion decision. He noted that second-trimester abortions are not legal in such countries as France, German, and Italy. “We live in the wealthiest country in the world and we’re killing babies,” he lamented.
Other organizations represented at the rally included 40 Days for Life-Madison, Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Family Council, Alliance Defense Fund, Pregnancy Helpline, and Knights of Columbus.
Traveled to rally
People traveled from throughout the state to attend the rally. Among them were three sisters: Karen Timmerman and Mary Lou Dalsing from Kieler and Judy Adrian from Cassville.
“This is one of the most important issues that we face,” said Adrian.
Added Dalsing, “I think if people could respect life, everything else would fall into place.”
Dalsing said after listening to President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech, she had this message for him and others who consider themselves pro-choice, “To those who would fail to respect life, know that God may grace you with a change of heart.”
Before their march to the Madison Surgery Center, the pro-life marchers were encouraged to treat their opponents with politeness and compassion.
The marchers — escorted by the Madison Police Department — met up with about 60 abortion rights supporters at the Surgery Center.