Monday, February 2, 2009
UW claims "no profit" from abortions
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- University of Wisconsin medical officials say they do not plan to make a profit by performing late-term abortions even though an internal document lists increased revenue as one benefit.
University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, its faculty doctors' group and Meriter Hospital are proposing a plan to offer second-trimester abortions at the Madison Surgery Center, which the hospitals jointly own.
Records obtained by The Associated Press describe the secret planning that went into the proposal as well as some opposition from employees that could make it difficult to implement.
The AP also obtained a detailed powerpoint presentation developed by two UW doctors promoting the plan. A slide that contains a UW logo and is titled "Benefits" puts "increased departmental revenue" at the top of the list.
UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette said the slide does not refer to the Wisconsin proposal and has not been shown during the doctors' presentations. She said it was taken from an abortion rights center at University of California-San Francisco and refers to medical departments generally that provide abortions.
Brunette said the driving force behind the UW plan was to fill a gap left by the retirement of a Madison doctor who performed abortions on women up to 22 weeks pregnant. His clinic has been taken over by Planned Parenthood, which only offers abortions up to 19 weeks.
The UW plan calls for performing about 100 abortions per year on patients who Brunette said would often be young, poor and in desperate situations. Some, she said, will likely be victims of rape or incest. The abortions would be paid for by insurance or fees on patients.
"Although the business arrangements have not been fully worked out, from the information we have now we do not expect the second-trimester procedures to generate revenue above expenses," she said in a statement.
Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said she was skeptical of the university's explanation about the internal document. She said she believed the university was considering money in making its proposal, and "I think that's absolutely horrendous."
Lyons is helping organize opposition to the plan. A coalition of groups delivered more than 21,000 petitions this week opposing it and some vowed to boycott UW Hospital if it is approved. They are planning a rally in Madison on Saturday. Meanwhile, groups supporting abortion rights have praised the proposal.
Abortion during the second-trimester, which lasts from week 13 to 27 of pregnancy, is particularly controversial because fetuses develop rapidly during that time.
The board of directors of the hospital is scheduled to discuss the proposal Wednesday. Final approval could come from the six-member board of the surgery center in February during a closed-door meeting.
MORE HERE: http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WI_ABORTION_PLAN_WIOL-?SITE=WIMIL&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2009-01-30-13-59-58