Once Again, Republicans in the State Legislature Propose to Cut Off Access to Essential Health Care
Planned Parenthood remains committed to providing the compassionate, quality and safe medical care and education services that Wisconsin women rely on.
MADISON – Today, Republican leaders will hold a hearing on a pair of bills that are likely to be fast tracked to further defund Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI), making it harder for women across Wisconsin to access the essential health care they need. In 2011, Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Legislature eliminated all state funding for patients accessing reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood in the Biennial State Budget. These cuts lead to the closure of five rural Planned Parenthood health centers and the loss of 18,848 health services for 3,104 women, men and families each year. Since these closures, no other safety net provider has opened to provide coverage in these communities.
Despite those cuts, PPWI remains the largest community based reproductive health care provider in the state providing 60,000 individuals each year with breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual wellness exams, birth control, STD testing and treatment, education and referrals for prenatal care and mammograms. Through 22 health centers across Wisconsin, no one is turned away from health care because of their inability to pay.
“These politicians are trying to hurt Planned Parenthood through these ongoing political attacks, but what they are really doing is cutting off Wisconsin women and men who are in need of essential health care,” said Tanya Atkinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “These bills would make it more difficult for people to access the preventative care they need to keep themselves safe, healthy and strong.”
According to a study recently released by the Guttmacher Institute, in 2013 there were over 336,000 Wisconsin women in need of affordable reproductive care. The current women’s health network only serves 87,000 of those women.
Despite the level of unmet need, the study credits publicly funded family planning centers like PPWI with helping to avert over 21,000 pregnancies in 2013, which would have likely resulted in 7,200 abortions. Further, by reducing unintended pregnancies and other negative reproductive outcomes, these providers helped save the state and federal governments $171.5 million each year.
“Families in Wisconsin are suffering, especially in the more rural parts of our state, struggling to access affordable preventative care at the community level. It is time for politicians in Madison to stop the vendetta against Planned Parenthood and start supporting women,” said Atkinson.
While they continue with their political attacks, Planned Parenthood remains committed to providing the compassionate, quality and safe medical care and education services that Wisconsin women rely on.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. PPAWI engages in legislative and educational activity and works to elect candidates to office that support these goals.
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