Nearly 2,000 pro-lifers gathered outside a University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics center, Saturday, urging its doctors not to allow the opening of a sister clinic to perform second trimester abortions.
The protest outside Madison Surgery Center in Madison, Wis., came after UWHC announced this month its plan to add a new facility in February-- primarily for the performance of late term abortions.
Click play for comments from pro-life supporters who attended Saturday's rally.
A prayer rally was previously held outside the office Jan. 7.
"We're at a critical juncture for this battle for life," Steve Karlen, co-director of Madison Vigil for Life, said at the earlier protest. "We wanted to come out here to make a statement to the community that we don't want any abortions performed here, much less an abortion center."
Illegal Use of Funds?
Alliance Defense Fund attorney Matt Bowman said the hospital's plan not only promotes abortions, but also violates the rights of those against the procedures.
"Pro-life employees should not be coerced to violate their conscience by participating in the killing of pre-born, developed babies," he said.
The Christian legal group sent a letter to UWHC officials Jan. 6, also stating that the clinic could violate several laws, including misuse of funds.
A presentation made by two UW doctors listed "increased departmental revenue" as a top benefit for opening the new abortion clinic, the Associated Press reported.
Currently, state law bans government money "for the performance of an abortion."
UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette denied the accusations, Friday, saying state-paid doctors would perform the procedures, but money for the abortions would come from insurance plans or patient fees, and would not benefit them financially.
Officials: We Are Filling a Need
Madison's only abortion clinic at a Planned Parenthood facility offers first trimester abortions and some early second trimester abortions. Dr. Dennis Christensen, the sole doctor performing late second trimester abortions at the clinic, retired late last year, officials said.
UWHC claimed the new clinic would uphold "public health responsibility" to provide later term abortions no longer available in the area.
So far, UWHC has not let up on its plans for the controversial clinic.
Karlen said his group will continue to gather with others in protest.
Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Council, Wisconsin Right to Life and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison all attended the rally.
Sources: CBN News, Wisconsin Family Council, Alliance Defense Fund, Wisconsin State Journal, Life News