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Caryn Dutton joins medical school faculty at Harvard

The Associated Press
June 14, 2010
A University of Wisconsin doctor who was central to plans to provide late-term abortions in Madison is leaving for a job at Harvard University, officials said Monday, adding that they still plan to offer the procedure.

Caryn Dutton, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, will join the faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Dutton performed abortions at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and was heavily involved in plans to offer second-trimester abortions at the Madison Surgery Center.

The plans were approved last year by the UW Hospital and Clinics Authority Board, the UW Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital, which jointly operate the center. But they have never been implemented, and there’s been fierce opposition from anti-abortion protesters and some staff at the center.

Dutton’s resignation became public Monday, when Pro-Life Wisconsin, which opposes the plan, released e-mails it obtained under the open records law. UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette confirmed, saying Dutton’s departure means "a change in who provides the service, but otherwise there is no change in our plans."

The e-mails show UW Health officials came up with a script for dealing with media inquiries about Dutton’s departure, which they tried to downplay.

"I’d make this minimalistic," UW Medical Foundation President Jeffrey Grossman wrote in a May 20 e-mail. Robert Golden, dean of the school of medicine and public health, added: "I agree with Jeff. The script is fine and ’less is more’."

Dutton declined to comment. But Laurel Rice, who chairs the department of obstetrics and gynecology, said her departure was an opportunity for career advancement.

"The position she has taken is too good for anyone to turn down," Rice said.

The original plan called for other faculty to help Dutton staff the center, and Rice said they remained to that.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO Teri Huyck thanked Dutton, who served as the group’s associate medical director, "for providing Wisconsin women with compassionate health care."

Pro-Life Wisconsin spokeswoman Virginia Zignego said Dutton’s decision was surprising and a victory for opponents of abortion.
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