Wisconsin lawmakers are taking a different approach to limiting reproductive rights in the state — keeping new doctors from learning how to perform abortions. If approved, sister bills introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate would prohibit employees in the University of Wisconsin system from performing or training medical students on abortion procedures outside of a hospital.
Currently, the UW-Madison medical school trains Ob/Gyn residents at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison, and the school physicians are paid by the organization to perform abortions. It's already illegal for state money to go toward abortion procedures in Wisconsin, and this system allows the instructors to train students outside of the state school, since holding abortion trainings at the university's hospital would be considered using state funds for abortion.
Republican Rep. Andre Jacque, who introduced the bill in the Wisconsin Assembly, doesn't want the school teaching the common medical procedure at all. "I’m trying to get UW out of the abortion business," he told The Associated Press. "I’m on pretty firm ground here."
He suggested to The AP that residents get the training on their own time, away from the university. But, they would have to either find a private hospital with doctors willing to spend time training them or travel to another school.
Future doctors have to learn how to perform abortions in order to become Ob/Gyns. The national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education says medical schools have to provide training on performing abortions to keep their accreditation, but allows students to opt out.
UW-Madison is already trying to combat a shortage of Ob/Gyns in Wisconsin through a rural residency program, as one out of every three Wisconsin counties don't have an Ob/Gyn. Losing its accreditation would force students to go elsewhere and could worsen the lack of Ob/Gyns statewide.
A public hearing for the bill was scheduled for Tuesday.