The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has signed-off on a budget proposal that bans state funding for organizations that provide or offer referrals to abortion services.
Democratic Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) says the measure approved Wednesday is designed to defund groups like Planned Parenthood, which provide services to women and the poor other than abortions. Jauch accused Republicans of bowing to “narrow-minded zealots who are willing to sacrifice the health care of thousands of women and poor people because they don’t agree with Roe vs. Wade.”
Joint Finance co-chair Robin Vos (R-Rochester) argued the measure just closes a loophole that allows tax dollars to go to groups that provide abortions, even if that money is not directly spent on that procedure. Vos says the state’s limited tax dollars should actually go to providing health care, not “killing children.”
Vos also pointed out that the restriction does not ban abortions in Wisconsin. The bill just prevents groups that provide abortions or refer women to services that offer them from receiving state grants.
State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) says it disrespects women by not providing an exemption for rape and incest, and blasted the GOP for playing politics with the health of victims.
Republicans contend the change will result in only a slight funding cut for groups that do not comply with the restriction. JFC did push back from the original proposal made by Governor Scott Walker, restoring about $1.7 million in funding for family planning services.