I’m outraged that the Madison Surgery Center has gone back on its pledge to offer second-trimester abortion care.

The center, which is co-owned by the UW Hospital and Clinics, the UW Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital, announced on Dec. 13 that it has given up on finding a place in Madison where women can get the reproductive health they deserve.

I know, from personal experience, what a tragic loss this is.

I’m married, I’m a working professional and a few years ago, I found myself in need of a second-trimester abortion.

My husband and I had tried for five years before I finally became pregnant with my only living son. My son had been born at only three pounds, and I had problems with preeclampsia during delivery. Still, we wanted him to have a little brother or sister. Two miscarriages and seven years later, I finally became pregnant.

But four months into my pregnancy, despite taking aspirin as prescribed by my doctor, I developed a blood clot in my arm that spread from my elbow to my shoulder. My high-risk doctor at UW Health advised me that the blood clot presented a risk to my health and possibly my life.

Terminating the pregnancy was the one and only option offering a 100 percent guarantee for me to remain my son’s mom on this Earth.

I know what it is like to live without a mother. My mother died when I was only four years old, and this changed my life forever.

My husband and I agonized over our decision, but we knew preserving my health and my life was the best choice for our family. We painfully decided to terminate my pregnancy to save my son’s quality of life.

What I expected was for my obstetrician to be able to terminate my pregnancy in a hospital or surgery center. What I learned was there is no such place in south-central Wisconsin.

With nowhere else to turn, I crossed self-righteous protesters with tears in my eyes to seek care at the Madison Abortion Clinic. Unfortunately, the Madison Abortion Clinic is no longer in existence. Now there is no place for us to go in our community. In fact, there is only one place in the entire state for women who need second-trimester abortion care to go.

Women in Madison—and throughout Wisconsin—need options when faced with a terribly difficult pregnancy decision.

It is disgraceful that our local hospitals have shirked their duty to provide women like me with an appropriate medical setting to receive abortion care that would safeguard their life, their health and their ability to care for their family.

We need the medical community to stand up and provide health care options. We don’t need the medical community to shirk its responsibilities and run and hide from mob protests.

To provide abortion care takes a serious commitment to women's health. And it takes courage.

The UW Hospital and Clinics, the UW Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital have neither of these qualities.

For shame!

Judy Shackelford lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.

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The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

The reach of this story extends from the lowliest working stiff to the highest court in the land.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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