Health

Wisconsin May Stop Med Students From Learning Abortions

| by Michael Allen
Medical StudentsMedical Students

Republican state Rep. Andre Jacque of Wisconsin has written a bill that would stop faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from teaching abortions to resident physicians.

Robert Golden, dean of the university's medical school, told the Associated Press: "This simple act will clearly lead to the loss of accreditation, but the damage will go far beyond the residency program."

According to Golden, OB-GYNs will go to other states to do their residencies.

The American Medical Society has said that 20 of the 72 counties in Wisconsin lack an OB-GYN specialist, but that did not seem to worry Jacque, who said: "I’m trying to get UW out of the abortion business. I’m on pretty firm ground here."

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Jacque's bio on the Wisconsin State Legislature web page does not list any medical experience, but does list an anti-abortion award: "Pro-Life Wisconsin Legislator of the Year."

The AP notes that the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education does require that medical schools offer abortion training to medical residents.

Susan White, a spokeswoman for the accreditation council, refused to comment about whether or not the council has revoked an accreditation from a medical school for failing to offer abortion training.

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Aurora Health Care, the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin all train their OB-GYN residents how to perform abortions, but Wisconsin does not allow taxpayer money to be spent on the medical procedure when it is an elective abortion.

Because of that restriction, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has stepped in and pays UW doctors to train OB-GYN residents and to perform the medical procedure for women.

Jacque's bill would ban UW-Madison employees from performing abortions, and would stop them from training others, or receiving training anywhere but hospitals, which currently cannot host this type of training under state law.

Golden predicted that faculty instructors and OB-GYN residents would leave the state: "Nobody would choose to come here."

Nicole Safar, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, warned the bill would mean fewer OB-GYNs in Wisconsin: "[Jacque] is trying to sever that relationship between UW and Planned Parenthood; the impact will be overall access to OB-GYNs. The intent Andre Jacque has for this bill is not at all the impact it will have in the real world."

In response, Jacque said that UW-Madison's OB-GYN residents could get abortion education on their own time.

Refinery 29 notes: "But, they would have to either find a private hospital with doctors willing to spend time training them or travel to another school."

Jacque told the AP that UW doctors could work a second job at Planned Parenthood if they want to perform abortions.

Jacque added that Arizona's 2011 law stops public and tuition dollars from being spent on abortion training, but the University of Arizona’s medical schools did not lose their OB-GYN residency accreditations.

Sources: Associated Press via Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Legislature, Refinery 29 / Photo Credit: Realmastery/Wikimedia Commons, Ano Lobb/Flickr, Phil Roeder/Flickr

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