Fresh off his court-tested success in taking collective bargaining rights away from Wisconsin’s public employees, Gov. Scott Walker has taken the knife to another vulnerable group — women and families without health insurance (emphasis is in the original):
Yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed a budget that cuts funding for Planned Parenthood, after pushing the measure through the state Legislature without a single Democratic vote. Planned Parenthood denounced the decision to choke off state and federal funding to nine health centers in small communities that will deny preventative health care to 12,000 women who don’t have health insurance:
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says it has 27 health centers across the state, which provide birth control, cancer screenings, annual exams, and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment to 73,000 patients every year.
Wisconsin is the fourth state to target Planned Parenthood because of conservative-led objections to the group’s abortion services — even though they are funded separately and make up a small fraction of the services Planned Parenthood provides.
Planned Parenthood points out that the budget also threatens Wisconsin’s BadgerCare family planning program, “which currently helps more than 53,000 women and men get preventive health care at providers throughout the state.” Scott’s budget disqualifies men entirely from the program, leaving the 7,000 low-income Wisconsin men who use BadgerCare without access to health care and testing that saves lives. The budget also severely restricts eligibility and requires parental consent for all patients under 18 years old.
The oddly named “LifeNews” cheers the defunding, of course. Because removing the only source of basic health care for thousands of women is so life-affirming, don’t you know.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel calls the PP defunding “shortsighted,” pointing out that Planned Parenthood is already barred by state law from using federal monies to pay for abortions.
This is the bottom line:
Don’t let legislators who voted for Gov. Scott Walker’s trash-and-burn budget try to tell you they believe that all women are full citizens with equal rights and equal protections under the law.
Republican state senators, such as Alberta Darling and Sheila Harsdorf, voted for a budget that actually increases expenses for the supposedly cash-strapped state in order to fund discrimination against women.
This is not about conscience. It’s not about supporting life. It’s not about tax dollars funding abortions, because tax dollars are not funding abortions. It’s about hating the notion of women controlling their own reproductive lives. If Scott Walker and his misogynist supporters had a way, or could find a way, to prevent middle-class women — women who have health insurance, and options — from having access to contraception and abortions, they would. But those women are out of reach for these hateful people. So they target poor women because poor women make easy targets. These are cowards who do not want any woman to have any reproductive options, and they are willing to use the only weapon at their disposal — public funds — to deny basic health care, cancer screening, testing for STDs, and other services that have nothing to do with abortion to women who have no other options. Let me say this again, more concisely: Scott Walker and other anti-abortion zealots are willing to see women denied cancer screenings if that’s what’s needed to stop them from controlling their own fertility. These are not people who are following their conscience. These are people who want ME to follow their conscience instead of my own, and my daughter’s conscience instead of her own. A person acting out of a personal set of values, a personal sense of right or wrong, does not attempt to force others to act out of that personal set of values. This is not respect for life.This is disrespect — indeed, contempt — for women.