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Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

Defunding Planned Parenthood:

Closing a Loophole in Wisconsin

Heather Weininger  |  15 July 2021

The tie between medical students in the obstetrics residency programs across our country and Planned Parenthood runs deep. Since 2008, there has been an established relationship between Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc. and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority for training residents. This allows Planned Parenthood to use residents and faculty members of a state-run university to provide abortions, seemingly in opposition of Wisconsin State Statute, leading to a longtime effort in Wisconsin to break this tie.


Under current Wisconsin State law, 20.927, “no funds of the state or of certain local governmental units, including funds of the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority, and no federal funds passing through the state treasury may be authorized for or paid to a physician or hospital, clinic, or other medical facility for the performance of an abortion. For purposes of the funding prohibition, abortion is defined as the intentional destruction of life of an unborn child. The funding prohibition in current law does not apply when the abortion is directly and medically necessary to save the life of the mother, when directly and medically necessary to prevent grave, long-lasting physical health damage to the mother, or in circumstances of sexual assault or incest, if certain certification requirements are fulfilled.” 


As claimed by the University of Wisconsin, all expenses are reimbursed by and paid out to the University of Wisconsin Foundation, not a state entity. However, it is clearly noted in the letter of agreement between Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc. and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority that the residents and faculty are indeed not employees of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc.


As this tie between Planned Parenthood and the University of Wisconsin Medical School has become apparent, elected officials in Wisconsin have attempted to end this relationship. During the 2011-2012 legislative session, the Joint Finance Committee passed a motion in the state budget that would have removed this practice, yet the motion ultimately failed.  


Following those efforts, then Representative Jacque, continued the fight in following sessions and has been a leader in this effort since his first term in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Currently, Senator Jacque introduced SB260 which “Prohibits an employee of the University of Wisconsin System or the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority from, while in the scope of his or her employment, performing or assisting in the performance of an abortion; performing services at a private entity where abortions are performed that is not a hospital; or training or receiving training in performing abortions.”


Additionally, the UW System and the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority are prohibited under the bill from using funds or property to provide liability protection for or enter into any type of agreement for employees to perform any of those activities that the bill directly prohibits employees from performing. For purposes of these prohibitions, an abortion, as defined under current law, is the use of a substance or device with intent to terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be or for whom there is reason to believe may be pregnant and with intent other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the infant after live birth, or to remove a dead fetus.”


In response to the proposed legislation, the University of Wisconsin defends their agreement with Planned Parenthood, stating it is necessary to meet the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requirements for the Obstetrics Residency program.


First, who is ACGME and what are their requirements for accreditation? According to their website, ACGME “The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is an independent, not-for-profit, physician-led organization that sets and monitors the professional educational standards essential in preparing physicians to deliver safe, high-quality medical care to all Americans.”


“The mission of the ACGME is to improve health care and population health by assessing and enhancing the quality of resident and fellow physicians' education through advancements in accreditation and education.”


Further, the requirements for the Obstetrics Residency programs implemented in 1996 and updated more recently are as follows:


“IV.C.7. Family Planning and Contraception IV.C.7.a) Programs must provide training or access to training in the provision of abortions, and this must be part of the planned curriculum. (Core) IV.C.7.b) Residents who have a religious or moral objection may opt-out, and must not be required to participate in training in or performing induced abortions. (Core) IV.C.7.c) Residents must have experience in managing complications of abortions and training in all forms of contraception.”


The arrangement between the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics is not unique to Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood has embedded itself within the training of future physicians working with organizations to make abortion de-stigmatized in our society. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), even goes so far as to put a committee recommendation into place which ensures the growth of the abortion industry.


As abortionists continue to decline in numbers, the abortion industry is struggling to find replacements. The perfect partnership to fill the void is to have residents in training do the procedures. As they create these deeply embedded partnerships with Medical Schools, they hope that those who go through the training will incorporate this into their future practice.


There are further relationships being built that also broaden the scope of what the abortion industry is trying to create. The Ryan Program works to ensure there is a core curriculum in place for abortion training. Over 100 departs of Ob-Gyn are part of this program across the country.


The claims from the University of Wisconsin staff are that if this program is discontinued their ACGME accreditation will not be granted, and it will make an already declining number of residents for Obstetrics decline even further. However, during a recent hearing on SB 260, Doctors who have been in practice for many years shared that there is not a need to have this included in the curriculum and there are many opportunities for a resident to learn a D & C from a miscarriage.


As the abortion industry continues to look at avenues of advancing new ways of gaining abortionists, we must all be attentive in our states to see what laws we have and are they being followed. Any way we look at what is happening in Wisconsin, a state-funded institution is claiming a full destruction of their obstetrics residency if in fact the law of our state is followed.


Sources Cited:  

Lyons, Barbara. “Planned Parenthood and UW Abortion Practices Curbed by Joint Finance Committee.” Wisconsin Right to Life. Accessed July 9, 2021.

“Wisconsin State Statute,” 20.927 Wisconsin State Statute §. Accessed July 9, 2021.

“About Us.” ACGME. Accessed July 9, 2021.

“ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology.” ACGME Requirements. 2020 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), July 1, 2020. 2020 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

“Abortion Training and Education.” ACOG, July 9, 2021.

Wisconsin Legislative Documents 2021 “SB 260.” Accessed July 9, 2021.

Heather Weininger

Executive Director

Wisconsin Right to Life

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