Gov. Walker on Denying Women Equal Access to Contraception: If at First You Don’t Succeed Try, Try Again

Gov. Walker (Mis)Uses Hobby Lobby Case in His Latest Effort to Deny Wisconsin Women Equal Access to Insurance Coverage of Prescriptions

MADISON, Wis. — In his first state budget in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the state law guaranteeing contraceptive equity for women in their health care. This week the Walker administration announced it is halting enforcement of Wisconsin’s equity law, using the Hobby Lobby decision as justification, despite being quoted as saying, “It really hasn’t been an issue for us.”

“Gov. Walker has a long and shameful record of extremism in restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare,” said Scot Ross, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now. “Now he’s refusing to do his job and enforce the laws of our state, unilaterally deciding to stop ensuring that basic healthcare for women is covered by their insurance.”

State law has resulted in millions of Wisconsin women currently having their prescription drug plans cover birth control the same as other prescription drugs. A legal analysis by experts at the National Women’s Law Center found that the recent U. S. Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision does not directly impact the state contraceptive equity law as Gov. Walker’s administration alleged this week.

Ross noted that this decision is the most recent in Walker’s long history of rolling back women’s rights:

  • In his first budget, Walker proposed repealing Wisconsin’s contraceptive equity law (the very law his administration is now refusing to enforce)
  • Signed a law that requires women to undergo a government-mandated ultrasound in order to access safe and legal abortion care.
  • Cut funding to health clinics, resulting in the closure of at least five health clinics across Wisconsin. As a result, thousands of women lost convenient access to basic healthcare services.
  • Signed a law requiring abortion providers to have medically unnecessary admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, threatening to close down providers.
  • Undermined women’s economic equality by repealing the state law providing enforcement measures to ensure women and men get equal pay for equal work.
  • Is so extreme on women’s health that he has previously been endorsed as “100% pro-life” by a right-wing organization that seeks to outlaw birth control and supports a so-called “personhood” amendment to the state constitution that is so extreme it would ban all abortions, even to save the life of the mother.

He concluded, “Gov. Walker’s extremism on women’s health issues apparently knows no bounds. He’s has closed clinics providing comprehensive women’s health care services and signed a law requiring women undergo a government-mandated ultrasound in order to access safe and legal abortion care. Now he’s refusing to even enforce the state law that says women ought to be treated equally by their insurance when it comes to getting prescription drugs.”

# # #
One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.