Cap Times Misinterprets Abortion Bill

The Cap Times incorrectly reported on senate bill 154 that deals with banning the training and teaching of abortion procedures linked to the UW system. The Cap Times did not make the distinction that those opportunities may still be available under a hospital setting. Leaving this distinction out is distorts the bill’s intent.

The Cap Times article titled, “Senate committee advances bill banning abortion training at University of Wisconsin,” reported that this bill would “bar University of Wisconsin employees from performing or assisting with abortions under the scope of their employment,” and that ob-gyn students would no longer receive this training which would lead to the residency program “losing it’s accreditation.”

However, that’s not what the bill does. In the Legislative Reference Bureau analysis of the bill  makes the distinction that it would prohibit the training or performance of an abortion, unless in a hospital setting. The analysis reads:

This bill prohibits an employee of the University of Wisconsin System or the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority from, while in the scope of his or her employment, performing or assisting in the performance of an abortion; performing services at a private entity, other than a hospital, where abortions are performed; or training or receiving training in performing abortions, unless the training occurs at a hospital.

The Cap Times also wrote on the connection between planned parenthood and the UW school’s of medicine that allowed UW physicians to “direct, coordinate and provide’ family planning, sexually transmitted disease screening and surgeries including abortions for Planned Parenthood patients,” as a way to meet accreditation requirements for it’s students under the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

The Cap Times included Sen. Vukmir’s comments at a hearing about the bill and how it would help taxpayers who don’t support abortion.  She commented on the bill that it, “(The bill) is to protect that majority of taxpayers (who oppose abortion) … to protect them from subsidizing the devastating industry to kill babies at Planned Parenthood.”

Not making this distinction leads to a very different understanding of the bill, which still gives students opportunities to train or learn about abortions in a hospital setting. While the CapTimes may have missed the mark, the Associated Press reported accurately on the issue on the hospital setting provision of the bill.