Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin could see its access to nearly $7.5 million in federal funding blocked, under a pair of bills receiving public hearings at the Capitol today.
Dozens of people have turned out to testify on the legislation, which includes changing the eligibility requirements for federal Title X funding in the state and capping reimbursement rates for medications. Republicans argue the measures are needed to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to support organizations that provide abortions, while opponents of the bills claim they could reduce access to basic health care services for thousands of low-income women around the state.
State Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), a sponsor of the Title X proposal, testified that the program is intended to promote public health and provide access for low-income residents. “When they money is being used to actively terminate human life, it is in direct conflict with its intended use,” the Delafield Republican argued.
Democrats on the committee pointed out that some areas of the state may lack options that are comparable to Planned Parenthood’s clinics. Outside of the few locations in the state that provide abortions, most clinics offer reproductive health services and health care screenings. Rep. Deb Kolste (D-Janesville) said that those clinics are the only option available to many people, and she has “grave concerns that this (the bill) is going to greatly affect the ability of women to receive health care.”
Sponsors of the bill note that options, such as Wisconsin’s Well Women Program and the Department of Health Services, could help to offer those other options and that the bill keeps Planned Parenthood from being the sole recipient of Title X funds. Democrats countered that those options are far more limited though than Planned Parenthood’s offering.
The hearing was expected to run through much of the day on Wednesday.