The war on Planned Parenthood and women’s rights continues. Planned Parenthood has been notified by the state of Wisconsin that its contract to run the state’s Wisconsin Well Woman program will not be renewed, effectively cutting off free breast and cervical health screenings for uninsured women seeking services at health departments in Fond du Lac, Outagamie, Sheboygan, and Winnebago counties.
From Mother Jones:
The Wisconsin Well Woman Program is an 17-year-old state service created to ensure that women ages 45 to 64 who lack health insurance can access preventive health screenings. It is administered by the Department of Health Services and provides referrals and screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and multiple sclerosis at no cost. The state currently uses a number of contractors to coordinate and provide those services, including Planned Parenthood. But now, in a move that could leave many women in the state without access to the program, the Walker government is ending Planned Parenthood’s contract.
In four Wisconsin counties, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider currently contracted as a coordinator for the cancer screenings. Coordinators evaluate women for eligibility, enroll them in the program, and then connect them to health care providers that can perform the exams. The coordinators also do community outreach, letting women know that there are options for preventative care even if they don’t have health insurance. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin has been a contractor since the program began—including during the terms of previous GOP governors Tommy Thompson and Scott McCallum—but the group recently learned that its contract is being terminated at the end of the month.
Of course, Governor Scott Walker is trying to defuse the situation:
The program is still in place. The Well Woman, in particular to make sure women have access to exams for cancer and other things, is funding. It’s in place. We’re just not contracting with Planned Parenthood to do that,” Governor Walker said.
No reason for the decision was given, but the governor said, “There’s other providers throughout the state who have that. Planned Parenthood is not the sole provider of that. There are many clinics that are not as controversial as Planned Parenthood, and our goal was to make sure low-income women had access to those sorts of screenings from other providers around the state that don’t carry the controversy you get with Planned Parenthood.”
So, in a nutshell, Walker is citing Planned Parenthood’s
stance on abortion “controversy” as his reasoning to cut funding to its participation in the program.
Walker is pretty much falling in line with conservative, anti-abortion rights activists who are more than willing to play politics with women’s health care access in a bid to advance their anti-woman political agenda. Women’s rights, including the right to have adequate health care screening and services, has always been a political football male AND female politicians are willing to kick around and punt when they need a pat on the back from religious, extreme conservatives.
By stripping funding from Planned Parenthood, Walker has handed a wink and a nod to those who come to define their anti-abortion agenda by taking down Planned Parenthood.
This, along with Walker’s shenanigans to end collective bargaining rights in the state, should convince liberals, moderates and progressive on the fence that the recall efforts against Walker could be the first step in ridding the state of a reactionary government.