FOX47 NEWS - Hospital Considering Late Term Abortion Clinic

Jeff Angileri
Feb 2, 2009, 10:14 PM

The UW Hospital Board will soon decide how to proceed on a proposal to offer late term abortions at its Park Street clinic.

Wednesday's hearing is the last chance for people -- who passionately believe and don't believe the UW should be doing this procedure -- to speak their piece.

The debate spilled into the streets of Madison over the weekend. Hundreds of people expressed either their support or disdain for a proposed late term abortion program.

Now, supporters and opponents of abortion rights will have the chance to directly address those making the decision, the UW Hospital Board.

We will be expressing support for the continuity of service that already exists in this community -- that women deserve access to reproductive health services, said Sara Finger, of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health. It really is the compassionate and right thing to do.

If they go thru with these plans -- and we really hope they don't, but if they do -- we will be present. That will be in the form of vigils and protests, and constant physical, peaceful presence outside of that clinic, said Steve Karlen, Pro-Life Wisconsin supporter.

In a statement last month, hospital leaders said many of its doctors believe there is a public health responsibility to provide abortions. The clinic, they say, would not use any state funding, and doctors and health care workers could opt out if they have moral objections.

We're certainly glad they're going to give us the forum to speak on this issue, said Karlen. What will really be the indicator of how willing they are to consider outside voices is whether they actually receive and consider the input on Wednesday.

We're seeing incredible interest for those who want to be heard on this issue, said Finger. I think it's been an open process for those interested in this issue to speak out.

For many years, a doctor at Planned Parenthood performed late term abortions. His retirement in December leaves no one in the Madison area who does the procedure.

The abortion proposal is a joint venture of the UW Medical Foundation, UW Hospitals and Clinics, and Meriter Hospital.

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