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UMC lost abortion procedure because of UA football stadium

By Rachael Myer
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 3, 2000
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When the UA gained a football stadium, UMC lost its ability to provide abortions.

Former Arizona Rep. Jim Skelly, R-Scottsdale, said he added an amendment to a 1974 or 1975 bill that stated if the University of Arizona received a football stadium, the University Medical Center would be prohibited from performing abortions on patients.

"I'm a pro-lifer - I always have been one," Skelly said. "I think it is a disgrace to use taxpayers' money for abortions."

He said the UA administration did not like his amendment, but the bill passed anyway in 1974 or 1975 - he could not remember the exact year or name of the law.

"It is never necessary to kill innocent, unborn babies," Skelly said.

Norma Varela, program coordinator for UA's obstetrics and gynecology residency program, said UA students can learn about abortion techniques at another facility such as Planned Parenthood.

"Our accreditation people have told us that we do need to offer abortion training," Varela said.

She said she is required to write reports to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and has been following their guidelines well. She said 16 residents are involved with the ob-gyn residency.

The residents receive training about one to two days a week and are evaluated, Varela said.

"If they have a problem with it, we don't make them go out there," she said. "Most of them are here to learn - they want to learn how to do these if they had to."

Virginia Yrun, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona, said it is a "mystery" to her why a legislator thinks he has the qualifications to determine if abortions should be held at UMC.

"It is an issue of child and maternal health," Yrun said.

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