The state Assembly is expected to vote today on legislation that would prevent Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin from accessing about $3.5 million in annual funding.
The bill would bar the state from passing on funding received under the federal Title X program to any provider that offers abortions or make referrals for abortion services. Currently, Planned Parenthood is the only provider receiving the money and it would be excluded in the future.
Backers of the legislation argue it’s needed to prevent taxpayer money from being used to support organizations that provide abortions. However, critics warn it could prevent access to life-saving cancer screenings and other reproductive health services for thousands of women, who may not have another provider near them that works with low-income residents.
The money could go to the state’s Well-Woman Program, which provides cancer screenings between the ages of 45 and 64. Supporters have said other programs may be able to serve women who are younger than 45, but have so far not provided any examples of what those may be.
The bill is one of multiple proposals in the Legislature aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, in the wake of undercover videos that claim to show officials with the national organization discussing the sale of aborted fetal body parts. Planned Parenthood has challenged the accuracy of those recordings. State officials with the organization have also said they do not collect fetal tissue for research at any Wisconsin facility.