Madison hospitals should not allow late-term abortions

By | January 23, 2009

Stephanie and Ben Weiler of Wauwatosa named their newly adopted son James Benjamin. At birth, doctors named him Taylor Spfn Doe. Spfn stands for safe place for newborns.

The adoption hearing, held at Milwaukee’s Children’s Court Center, was a joyful event. Even the judge was in good spirits, holding James during most of the hearing and giving him a toy dragon.

The adoption of James Benjamin Weiler demonstrated how good people and good laws can turn lives around. In contrast, a proposal by three Madison health care agencies to perform late-term abortions would simply terminate lives.

Earlier this month, UW Hospitals and Clinics, the UW Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital announced they would begin offering late-term abortions at the Madison Surgery Center. The University Hospital plans to allow its gynecologists at the surgery center to perform second trimester abortions. Second trimester pregnancies are between 13 and 22 weeks of development.

The only doctor in Madison who performed this procedure was employed by Planned Parenthood, according to news reports, and he recently retired.
The Wisconsin Catholic Conference, public policy voice of the state’s bishops, wrote letters to directors of the three health clinics expressing its opposition to the proposal.

WCC associate director Barbara Sella said that UWHC’s involvement in the proposal is distressing. “Even if tax dollars are not involved, as the state’s leading medical research and teaching institution, the UWHC is both a symbol and reflection of who we are as a people.”

The Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin have also condemned the plan.

The UW Hospital Center’s board is expected to meet sometime in February to approve the plan. Compass readers are urged to express opposition. Wisconsin Right to Life has created an online petition against late-term abortions at Madison Surgery Center. To sign the petition, or to download and print petitions, go to

Abortion at any stage is immoral. Late-term abortions are particularly gruesome because the physical development of fetuses leaves no doubt that a child is present in the womb. For these children, unlike little James Benjamin Weiler, there is no safe haven.

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