Family planning dollars from the state would be scrapped under Governor Walker’s proposed next budget which pro-choice groups claim would deal a blow to overall health services for poor people. Lisa Subek of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin tells WRN the funding is not just used for birth control and sexually transmitted disease treatments but critical services such as cervical and breast screenings.
Subek says in 2008 about 53,000 women statewide were served by clinics funded by family planning dollars. She says Walker’s budget proposal amounts to “an attack on women’s health.”
Pro-Life Wisconsin says with the looming $3 billion deficit, “the state of Wisconsin can no longer afford the controversial business of ‘family planning.”
But the move by Walker could put federal funds in jeopardy. The Capital Times reports the state received around $1.5 million from Washington in family planning grants last year. It’s part of a larger block grant known as Title-V which also provides special health needs for kids, prenatal care for women, and programs to reduce infant deaths and immunize more children. Federal funds for those services total around $9 million a year in Wisconsin and require matching state dollars.
Also affected by the budget proposal are males who would be cut out of the Medicaid Family Planning Waiver program. Subek says the program provides reproductive health care including prostate cancer screening.
The provision would eliminate a two-year-old program that provides free condoms to boys. Matt Sande of Pro-Life Wisconsin applauds the move calling it a matter of parental rights, “It’s a matter of protecting our children not only physically but their moral development.” He tells WIBA the group would like the bill to go further and include girls in its restriction to birth control access.
The future of similar programs at the federal level remains in question. Last month the House voted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.