Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who was elected with the help of extreme anti-choice groups who not only advocate against abortion, but also against contraceptive use, has made it a key priority to roll back initiatives in the state that assist with providing more accesses, resources and education when it comes to reproductive health in the state. He’s limited teen access to the birth control pill, attempted to clamp down on age appropriate fact based sex ed, and even removed low income men from being to able to access STI screenings through BadgerCare.
Now, he’s continuing his mission to elminiate as much funding as possible from the state’s Planned Parenthood facilities, in this case by denying the group $130,000 in federal funding usually used to provide cancer screenings through the state’s “Well Woman” program. Walker has deemed that money should instead go to “less controversial” entities.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin states, “In what appears to be yet another politically motivated effort to end health care services coordinated by Planned Parenthood, Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith, a Governor Walker appointee, indicated that he is ending the state’s 16 year partnership with Planned Parenthood to facilitate breast and cervical cancer screenings as a part of the Wisconsin Well-Women program in Winnebago, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties. This sudden and unexpected decision was communicated in a phone call to staff earlier this month with no further explanation or written notice to help direct existing patients. Because no replacement staffing or health services plan has been communicated to Planned Parenthood or any of the public health providers in the four affected counties, up to 1,000 women in the Fox Valley are likely to lose access to lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, referrals and treatment starting January 1, 2012.”
Anti-choice activists both in the state and nationally are applauding Walker for his decision. “On behalf of the members and supporters of Wisconsin Right to Life, I want to extend our thanks to Governor Walker and Secretary Smith for making sure that this vital health care will be provided by local entities that are not engaged in the destruction of unborn human life and the endangerment of women,” said Susan Armacost, Wisconsin Right to Life Legislative Director. “These important services will continue to be provided to low income women by other providers throughout Wisconsin.”
It’s repeated by everyone — “other providers” will be taking over the service instead. But who are these “other providers” that they refer to? The state’s DHS Secretary doesn’t really have any idea yet. “We are committed to making sure these vital prevention services are provided to women in these counties and will work with local community providers to ensure continued access,” Smith has said in response to the accusations that women are being cut off with no alternative sources.
No list of alternative providers can be seen in the state’s Well Woman site, and Planned Parenthood is still listed as the contact for coordianting a screening in a variety of counties.
Maybe they haven’t updated their info yet? Oh, well, no rush. After all, it’s just cancer.
Photo credit: Wikimedia commons
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