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.
According to an analysis by NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, “state-funded family planning services saved the state $140 million and prevented 11,000 unintended pregnancies in 2008 alone. For every $1 spent on family planning, the state saves $4 in Medicaid spending on the cost of unintended pregnancy.”
Yet those services are being attacked by the militantly anti-choice Walker, whose budget has been approved by the Legislature and awaits the governor’s signature.
Specifically, the budget:
• Defunds nine Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide preventive care to over 12,000 uninsured women in small communities across the state.
• Adds new restrictions on the services provided by family planning providers, blocking women facing unintended pregnancy from accessing unbiased and non-directive information about all of their options.
• Makes men ineligible for the BadgerCare Family Planning Program.
• Adds new barriers for young women accessing the BadgerCare Family Planning Program.
• Reduces income limits for families accessing the BadgerCare Family Program.
• Puts the entire BadgerCare Family Planning Program in jeopardy, potentially leaving more than 57,000 uninsured women and families without access to any health care.
• Add restrictions to University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Authority, limiting access to comprehensive reproductive health services for its patients and potentially putting comprehensive training of OB/GYN students in jeopardy.
“Our anti-choice lawmakers put politics ahead of sound decision-making when they voted down amendments to restore family planning services then proceeded to pass a budget that is bad for women, bad for our economy, and bad for our state,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin Executive Director Lisa Subeck. “It is clear that they will stop at nothing in their quest to take away the rights of women to access the full range of reproductive health care options.
“This budget is not about the state’s finances or improving our economy,” Subeck explains. “It is crystal clear that anti-choice Republican politicians are using our state budget to advance their extreme ideological agenda, and women’s health is going to suffer under their draconian policies.”
Subeck is right about that.
And she is right to note that upcoming recall elections provide the best opportunity for Wisconsinites to reject the increased costs and wrongheaded policies advanced by this governor and his rubber-stamp legislators.
“This is why elections matter,” says Subeck. “Our new anti-choice elected officials promised a jobs agenda, but now they are waging a war on women’s health. What we cannot win legislatively, we will win electorally.”
We agree. No legislator who voted for this budget should remain in office. Nor should any legislator who voted for this budget claim to respect the rights of all women.