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UW Warns Anti-Abortion Bill Could Worsen OB-GYN Shortage

Public Hearing Will Be Held Tuesday On The Proposed Bill

Wisconsin state Capitol
Lori Greig (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

University of Wisconsin-Madison officials say a Republican bill to block resident physicians from being trained to perform abortions would lead to fewer OB-GYNs in the state.

Currently, UW medical faculty train residents in the OB-GYN program in abortions at Madison’s Planned Parenthood clinic since abortions can’t be performed legally at UW facilities. Rep. André Jacque’s bill would block UW physicians from offering such training anywhere other than a hospital.

UW health officials say they must offer abortion training to keep their accreditation. UW Health CEO Alan Kaplan said in a letter to lawmakers that losing that accreditation would send would-be OB-GYN residents to other states, worsening a shortage of the specialists in Wisconsin.

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Jacque, R-DePere, said there’s no certainty the program would lose its accreditation.

“They’re basically talking about a domino effect where the first domino isn’t going to fall,” Jacque said.

The bill will undermine the program and could further reduce the number of doctors specializing in women’s health, said Dr. Robert Golden, dean of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“There is clearly a horrible shortage of OB-GYN physicians in Wisconsin,” Golden said.

Medical school students are not required to have abortion training and OB-GYN residents can opt out. A hearing will be held Tuesday on the bill.

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