Wisconsin Bill Would Forbid UW-Madison From Teaching OB/GYN Residents How to Perform Abortions

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

A GOP bill would block faculty at University of Wisconsin-Madison from teaching OB-GYN residents how to perform abortions. Because a foolproof way of improving women’s healthcare is to make doctors worse at their jobs.


The bill, AB206, authored by state Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), argues teaching abortion at a public university technically qualifies as using state dollars to pay for abortion, since some training takes place at Planned Parenthood.

From the Journal-Sentinel:

The UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Aurora Health Care and the Medical College of Wisconsin all train OB-GYN residents in how to perform abortions.
Wisconsin law blocks spending public dollars on elective abortions, so the UW-Madison medical school has an agreement with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin in which that organization pays UW physicians to perform abortions and train OB-GYN residents in how to perform abortions at its Madison clinic.

Jacque’s bill, introduced in April, would prohibit UW-Madison employees from performing abortions as well as training others or receiving training in performing abortions anywhere other than a hospital. Since the training requires participating in abortions and government dollars can’t be used to facilitate abortions, the training can’t take place at the university hospital. That would leave nowhere for UW-Madison residents to obtain it. They would have to join another residency program if they wanted to become a certified OB-GYN.


“I’m trying to get UW out of the abortion business,” Jacque told the Journal-Sentinel. “I’m on pretty firm ground here.”

Jacque reportedly said that residents could seek abortion training on their own, and doctors wishing to perform abortions could get second jobs at Planned Parenthood locations. This, of course, ignores the most basic reality that abortions can be necessary to save the life of a mother, and that a generation of doctors untrained in the procedure would likely result in the loss of life. It also ignores the also-obvious reality that abortions are a legal and vital component of women’s health.

Not only is the bill logically asinine, it puts the medical school at odds with accreditation requirements: the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education writes that for an OB-GYN training program to qualify, it must “provide training or access to training the provision of abortions, and this must be part of the planned curriculum.” Trainees who object to abortions can opt out, according to the guidelines.

The guidelines also state that residents need to have experience managing complications of abortions and training in every form of contraception, including sterilization.


Not only would the bill conceivably deter residents from the institution, it would also likely increase a drastic shortage of qualified OB-GYNs in the state. According to data provided by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are no OB-GYNs practicing in 1/3 of the 72 counties in Wisconsin. In Douglas County, which has a population of 44,159, there is only one.

To combat the shortage, Wisconsin was recently the first state to offer a rural residency training track in obstetrics and gynecology. The bill could effectively shut it down.


“Wisconsin women will suffer if this bill passes,” reads a statement from ACOG. “Abortion training is required for safe patient care, management of complications of pregnancy and abortion, and to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. Maternal mortality in the US is rising and is the worst in the developed world.”

“Legislative interference will close the OB/GYN residency program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health reducing the number of practicing OB/GYNs in Wisconsin.”

Senior Editor, Jezebel

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WOW. This type of thing drives me extra crazy because ABORTION IS LEGAL. So this is telling the university to just not teach a certain medical practice to medical students. Its like telling them not to learn how to do stitches on patients. Ridiculous, hopefully this does not pass.