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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.
Judy Shackelford lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.
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