Funding cuts made under the last state budget are being blamed for forcing Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to shut down four of its clinics around the state. The decisions means family planning health clinics in Shawano, Chippewa Falls, Johnson Creek, and Beaver Dam will shut their doors by July of this year.
Nicole Safar, Public Policy Director with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, says they have been struggling to keep up after the 2011 state budget, in which state funding was taken away from nine of the organization’s centers. That amounted to a cut of about $1 million each year.
Those clinics provide basic women’s health services, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing, and birth control prescriptions. None of the clinics offer abortions. In most cases, Safar says those clinics are the only local option available for women in need of publicly assisted care.
With the closing, Safar says about 2,000 women will have to travel to nearby counties and communities to receive screenings or birth control prescriptions. For many, she says the next closest option is another Planned Parenthood clinic that could be up to 60 miles away.
Planned Parenthood will continue to operate 23 health centers across the state.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:10)