Dr. Nancy Fredericks
“I knew there was risk involved. I didn’t really envision this going where it did.” Nancy Fredericks put her job on the line to fight for life. As an anesthesiologist for over seven years, Nancy couldn’t believe it when she first heard of a plan to take over a local Planned Parenthood clinic’s late-term abortion practice. Surely, her colleagues would see that as a peaceful, productive surgery center associated with the University of Wisconsin, throwing women about to have abortions into the same waiting room as children having wellness visits and mothers who’d just had miscarriages was a bad idea.
But the administrators assured her that she’d have plenty of opportunities to voice her opinion later, but told her not to mention it to anyone yet. After a month, that opportunity still hadn’t come when Nancy realized that the majority of the medical staff had no idea what was going on, and they weren’t going to get a say. Neither were the taxpayers who funded the surgery center.
When she contacted Alliance Defending Freedom, attorney Matt Bowman explained that most likely, Nancy and her fellow health care workers would have to participate in abortions.
At first, Nancy didn’t believe it. She’d been told that her shifts could be scheduled so she wouldn’t be on call, or other doctors would be responsible. But what about "emergencies,” a co-worker asked? In a crisis, every doctor is required to respond. "Do you really think," the attorney asked, "that people who have no qualms about taking innocent pre-born life will have any qualms about trampling on your conscience rights?"
So Nancy made plans to speak at the next board meeting. And the next. Nancy knew she could lose her job, but she decided to trust God with the consequences.
Pro-life organizations across the state joined to protest in the middle of the bitter Wisconsin winter, marching 1,000 people through Madison. Supporters called, sent letters, boycotted, and even changed their insurance policies to remove their funds. Pro-life leaders gathered 60,000 signatures of residents opposing the plan to bring late-term abortions to the surgery center. Of the nearly 100 professionals on staff at the Surgery Center, all but seven signed a statement refusing to take part in abortions.
Despite the massive opposition, the board approved the plan. They hired new staff, and ordered the abortion instruments. Nancy and Alliance Defending Freedom made one last effort by writing a pointed letter asking for the board’s support, in writing, for the health care workers' conscience rights.
As churches all over town prayed, they waited for a response. The abortion instruments arrived, but no procedures were scheduled. Months passed. Finally, the state attorney general informed them that the University abandoned the plan. They announced it publically soon after. Thanks to the courage of Nancy and all those who stood with her, not a single abortion has been performed at the center.
Find out more about the sanctity of life.