As we begin this New Year with high hopes for good health and a change of priorities, I would like to take a minute to reflect on the last year and the unprecedented attack on women’s health care access which has been unlike anything I have ever seen.
We are in the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression, and while Wisconsin citizens are doing their best to weather decreased wages, lost jobs and health insurance fee hikes and coverage reductions, state leadership has instead been focused on advancing their personal agendas. The Legislature premiered their agenda on women’s health by eliminating $1 million in state funds directed to the essential preventative care of women seen at Planned Parenthood.
After eliminating our ability to provide prevention services under the state family planning program, Governor Walker is now focused on disrupting a cancer prevention and referral programs at Planned Parenthood, and reducing access for thousands of more individuals and families currently on BadgerCare.
Despite an exemplary 16 year partnership with the state facilitating cancer care to women in Winnebago, Outagamie, Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties, Governor Walker has suddenly and inexplicably ended Planned Parenthood’s role in facilitating care to 1,000 women currently enrolled in the Well Woman program effective Dec. 31, 2011. This politically-motivated decision was made without a ready alternative plan for how to serve women in need of cancer screens, treatment and referrals, needlessly putting their health and lives at risk.
While the political motivation behind all of these attacks could not be clearer, and will surely take resources away from the people who turn to Planned Parenthood for care, we welcome the opportunity to tell the Wisconsin people about the work we do every day to detect and prevent cancer and STDs, to help parents and teens talk about healthy relationships, to reduce unintended pregnancy and to provide safe, legal abortion care.
Planned Parenthood is a trusted nonprofit provider of professional, reliable, high-quality health care. More than 97 percent of what we do preventive, including life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control and STD testing and treatment– to 70,000 women, men and teens each year across Wisconsin.
Since the beginning of this legislative attack on women’s access to reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood has been there to serve thousands of women and families with the essential health care they need and deserve to keep them safe, healthy and strong. We call on the public who shares these same priorities to urge their elected leaders to end these senseless attacks, and to put women’s health above their personal politics.
Teri Huyck, President and CEO
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin