Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gov. Walker, state Republicans, de-fund women's health grants

'Love' -- or lack thereof -- for women apparent within GOP proposals

Wisconsin Republicans are making it crystal clear to women in our state: as far as their reproductive health goes, they’re on their own.

Two major aspects within Gov. Walker’s budget bill would limit the abilities of women with low incomes to receive adequate health care. The first was proposed initially by the Walker administration, as a $267,000 cut towards a program designed to give lower income women pelvic examinations to prevent cervical cancer. These screenings have been in place for decades -- and if removed could mean potential death sentences for many young women facing poverty.

The second bit within the budget bill that will affect women’s reproductive health was approved just this week. $1.7 million in grants to women health clinics will be stripped if this bill passes, affecting thousands that depend upon these organizations’ low costs to receive medical care.

Those cuts came in response to Republicans hoping to de-fund organizations that supported or performed abortion services. But the government grants that were funding these groups were tailored specifically to ensure that no taxpayer dollars would fund any abortion whatsoever. Without these grants, major aspects of these clinics’ services unrelated to abortion (free or low-cost contraception, inexpensive examinations, etc.) will be de-funded, in some cases possibly eradicating their availability within certain areas of the state.

These services in fact make up a vast majority of what family planning clinics do for their patients. An organization like Planned Parenthood, for instance, performs far less abortions than what people are led to believe. In fact, non-abortion related services accounted for more than 97 percent of all services performed at Planned Parenthood in 2009, including contraception, STD/STI treatment, cancer screenings and preventions, mammograms, and adoption referrals. Abortion procedures accounted for less than 3 percent of all services.

You may not agree with what these clinics do some of the time -- but grants given to them by the state provide a myriad of services that most WOULD agree are helpful to women facing financial difficulties. Taking away these grants will hurt thousands of women across Wisconsin, limiting their ability to test for diseases or prevent breast, cervical, or other forms of cancer.

Because of these two aspects of the budget bill, one could feasibly come to the conclusion that our state’s leaders just don’t care. The Republicans in the legislature, as well as the one currently occupying the office of the governor, don’t give a damn about the health of our state’s women, particularly those with meager incomes. It’s a shameful fact that, because of this lack of empathy within the GOP, Walker's budget will likely force many women in Wisconsin to suffer dire consequences related to their reproductive health.

Wisconsin’s women deserve better than this, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity -- but mostly, they deserve to be granted the chance to live healthy lives.


  1. Removing one possible provider does not remove any of these services from poor women. Ever hear of Badger Care. Planned Parenthood on average kills 23 unborn babies a day in Wisconsin according to their own reports. They have very few clinic locations in th estate and as such are not serving large portions of the state with any services other than abortion, as women all go to their local GYN for services instead of traveling to a PP location.

    Money is fungible and as such it is certainly appropriate that the state decide to have absolutely no business relationships with PP.

  2. Musings from the mind of a Madison liberal has been showing the Political Heat from all views. The second bit within the budget bill that will affect women’s reproductive health was approved just this week.

  3. The Conservatives in the legislature, as well as the one currently using the workplace of the governor, do not provide a rattling about the wellness of our state’s females, particularly those with little earnings.