MADISON, Wis. — Assembly Republicans today continued to push their effort to put politics and their personal beliefs before the health care needs of Wisconsin women, men and families. One Wisconsin Now Research Director Jenni Dye said two bills voted on by the Assembly Committee on Health will limit access to comprehensive care for thousands of Wisconsin families by seeking to divert funds for reproductive health care provided by Planned Parenthood and reduce their reimbursement rates for providing birth control and family planning through the Medical Assistance program.
“Republicans have once again shown that they think their personal beliefs and partisan political vendettas are more important than the health of Wisconsin women and their families,” commented Dye. “It’s a shameful abuse of political power that will have serious negative consequences on the health of Wisconsin families.”
Planned Parenthood provides health care to anyone, regardless of income, ability to pay or insurance status, who visits one of their 22 health centers statewide. They currently serve 60,000 individuals each year with breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control, STD testing and treatment, honest sex education and referrals for prenatal care and mammograms. Earlier efforts by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans closed five Planned Parenthood clinics in rural areas of Wisconsin, impacting over 3,100 women, men and families that depended on them for care.
In their fiscal analysis of the implications of the bill to divert funding away from Planned Parenthood, the Department of Health Services admits they lack the capacity and network of qualified providers to fulfill the requirements to receive the federal funds.
The bills acted on by the committee today were introduced approximately one week after the release of videos attacking Planned Parenthood. A recent independent analysis found the secretly and possibly illegally recorded attack videos were heavily edited and appear to be a targeted effort to spur anti-Planned Parenthood actions at the state and federal level.
Author of the anti-reproductive health care initiatives, Rep. Andre Jacque, is a longtime opponent of birth control and women’s access to it. In addition to supporting an amendment to the Wisconsin state constitution that would outlaw most common forms of birth control, Jacque testified in support of allowing employers to deny insurance coverage of their employees birth control because, “… there are places that offer free birth control. You see them on TV late at night.”
Dye concluded, “Wisconsin women and their families are going to pay the price for the willful ignorance and the politically motivated animosity toward Planned Parenthood of a handful of people who think their election to the State Assembly qualifies them to make healthcare decisions for others. The hubris of these politicians is as dangerous as it is disappointing.”