The State Assembly passed a bill Thursday that would take away federal funding from Planned Parenthood.
The bill, which was introduced Aug. 14, would take away the $3.5 million Title X grant that currently only goes to Planned Parenthood and redistribute it to other health clinics across the state.
The bill passed in a 60-35 vote.
Lawmakers argue whether Planned Parenthood should receive federal dollarsRepublicans and Democrats butted heads at hearings Wednesday for two GOP bills aiming to block federal money from going to Read…
House Democrats touted an amendment to the bill that would put more accountability on the Department of Health Services, asking for specifics on the health clinics that would replace Planned Parenthood.
“This is a simple amendment that says, ‘Find us the providers and tell us how this structure will be presented to the public,’” Rep. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville, said at the hearing.
Other Democrats, including Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, advocated for the amendment, saying without it the bill jeopardizes women’s health.
AB 310 is wrong for women, wrong for Beloit, and wrong for WI. http://t.co/GRkbWtC9Eb
— Rep. Mark Spreitzer (@RepSpreitzer) September 24, 2015
Several Republicans released statements after the bill passed, saying it is not removing any programs vital to the state.
“There is not a single women’s health service provided by Planned Parenthood that is not available elsewhere in our state,” Rep. Terry Katsma, R-Ootsburg, said in a statement.
Sam Guzman, spokesperson for Pro-Life Wisconsin, said Republicans proposed the bill because they did not want taxpayer dollars to support clinics that refer or perform abortions.
Pro-Life Wisconsin, according to Guzman, does not support any form of birth control, which Planned Parenthood supplies to women throughout Wisconsin.
“We back [the bill] 100 percent,” Guzman said. “There’s only 22 Planned Parenthood [facilities] in Wisconsin, and there’s quite a few more … clinics that do not perform or refer for abortions.”
One of the clinics which Republicans plan to redistribute Title X funds is the Wisconsin Well Woman Program.
Dawn Anderson, executive director of the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition, said taking away funding from Planned Parenthood would reduce access points for women to receive health care, and transferring the funds to the Wisconsin Well Woman Program would not be effective. She said the program primarily performs cancer screenings and would have to add other family planning services on a limited budget.
“I don’t know how they’d take on additional services and then bureaucracy, accounting [and so on],” Anderson said “It’s just a bad idea.”
BREAKING: Assembly Republicans ignore patient and provider voices, pass health care restrictions. http://t.co/JMhqv50AMx
— Planned Parenthood (@PPAWI) September 24, 2015
Anderson said the Well Woman Program only has 14 coordinators right now, and many counties do not have health care providers from the program.
Mike Murray, policy director for Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, agreed, saying although he supports the work Well Woman’s Program does, the program limits the women who can receive their services because its cancer screenings only apply to women between the ages of 45 and 64. Women who need family planning services are usually much younger, he said.
“It would be a real problem if Planned Parenthood wasn’t eligible for Title X funding in Wisconsin,” Murray said. “There’s lots of communities where Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider providing comprehensive family planning services to low-income women.”
The Republican-majority state Senate will hear the bill next.