Republican legislators introduced a bill Friday that may result in UW System employees no longer being able to perform abortions or train others at Madison Planned Parenthood clinics.
The legislation, introduced by state Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, and state Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, would terminate a nearly five-year arrangement in which physicians from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health are given the ability to work in the Madison locations of Planned Parenthood.
The legislators called the arrangement, in which “UW has provided faculty members to serve as abortionists,” at Planned Parenthood Madison clinics “appalling.”
“The University has been acting as a contractor for Planned Parenthood,” Jacque told the Associated Press. “That is not the role of the government.”
Since 2012, an agreement has allowed Planned Parenthood to hire out UW System faculty physicians to perform a variety of services, including family planning, disease screenings and abortions.
Sixteen to 20 hours of services are provided to Planned Parenthood by approximately 10 faculty members each week, and system employees receive a compensation rate of $150 dollars per hour.
Specifically, the bill would prohibit any UW System-employed physician from partaking in or assisting in an abortion procedure. It would also ban performing other services in any private organizations aside from hospitals, such as Planned Parenthood. The bill also bans training or receiving training in performing abortions outside of hospitals.
UW Health spokesperson Lisa Brunette told the Associated Press that federal guidelines require the School of Medicine and Public Health to provide abortion-training services, but residents can choose to opt out of them.
Currently in Wisconsin, neither state nor federal funds can be allocated to physicians, hospitals, clinics or other medical facilities with the purpose of performing abortions—barring cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is endangered. The bill would also observe these exceptions.
Other recently proposed bills involving abortions include one that would ban the sale of fetal tissue. A similar bill proposed by Jacque died last session after researchers contended that the law could hinder potentially life-saving research.