Planned Parenthood Condemns Wisconsin Governor for Cutting Off Health Care for Women
Wisconsin Becomes Fourth State to Deny Funding for Preventive Health Care for Patients at Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Federation of America sharply denounced Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for signing a budget bill that eliminated state and federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has 27 health centers across the state, and provides primary and preventive health care — including birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and STD testing and treatment — to 73,000 patients every year.
But the budget Governor Walker just signed prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating in the family planning program funded by the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, a joint state-federal program. This radical move eliminates state and federal funding to nine Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin health centers in small communities like Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Eau Claire, and Kenosha, and cuts off 12,000 uninsured women from access to preventive health care.
The budget also threatens Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Family Planning Program, which currently helps more than 53,000 women and men get preventive health care at providers throughout the state, including Planned Parenthood. According to the Department of Health’s own estimations, the BadgerCare Family Planning Program saves Wisconsin nearly $140 million per year. Governor Walker’s budget jeopardizes the ability of uninsured Wisconsinites to access medical exams, cancer screenings and birth control at any provider through the successful BadgerCare Family Planning Program. Under the new law, the Department of Health Services would be required to dramatically restrict eligibility for the program. As a consequence the program could end.
“It is outrageous that Governor Walker would take away health care away from thousands of women and families in Wisconsin,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “His radical budget is politically unpopular, fiscally shortsighted, and dangerous to women’s health. At a time when Wisconsin families face severe economic challenges, taking away essential health care is not only unconscionable, it is irresponsible. Wisconsin women and families will not stand for this.”
Wisconsin is the fourth state to undermine women’s health by enacting legislation eliminating public funding for Planned Parenthood, joining Indiana, Kansas, and North Carolina. Planned Parenthood his filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Indiana law. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice have weighed in, saying the Indiana law is unconstitutional.
“I am extremely disappointed that the state legislature would wage a political attack against each and every one of the 73,000 patients Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin serves. It is greatly disturbing that some politicians’ personal beliefs are trumping our shared responsibility to make sure women and men have access to preventive reproductive health care. The health care we provide saves lives and saves money for all Wisconsin taxpayers,” said Teri Huyck, President of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.
Wisconsin law prohibits funding of abortion care. In addition, the Hyde Amendment already prohibits the use of federal funding for abortion services. Abortion care is not provided at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin health centers that receive Title V funds.
It is clear that a strong majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood and reject these radical attacks. A CNN poll in April showed that 65 percent of Americans favor continued funding for Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is prepared to do everything possible to protect women’s health and to ensure it can continue to provide care to the thousands of patients who rely on its centers and the BadgerCare Program.
June 26, 2011