Wisc. Planned Parenthood Defunded in Walker's Budget

If you thought the budget delivered by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker earlier this week was just about union-busting and budget-balancing, think again. It's also a tactical front in the GOP/Tea Party War on Women.

In the name of fiscal responsibility, Walker's budget withdraws Wisconsin from the federal Title V Maternal and Child Health Program, which, according The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel, uses "a mix of federal, state and local funds to provide family planning services," as well as reproductive health services for uninsured women and men, including screenings for prostate and cervical cancer. Among the community reproductive health centers that receive funding via Title V are Wisconsin's Planned Parenthood clinics.

Wisconsin's withdrawal from the program, according to Walker, will save the state $1.9 million. But if the state actually withdraws from the program, the cost to Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health service providers will be much greater, ending access to the federal and local funds distributed in with Wisconsin through Title V.

Terkel writes:

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin spokeswoman Amanda Harrington argued that more than 50 health centers in the state would be deprived of a total of $4 million once the federal and local funds are included. (Planned Parenthood receives roughly one-quarter of that money.) In many cases, Harrington said, these health centers are the only providers in the area and deliver critical care.

According to a statement released by NARAL on Tuesday, "a 2008 Guttmacher Institute study demonstrates that every $1 spent on birth control through the Medicaid program saves taxpayers $4.02." So, how fiscally responsible is this, really? Doesn't appear to be about saving money.

Consider this: Walker's budget also targets for repeal Wisconsin's Contraception Equity law, which requires health insurers to cover family planning in prescription drug plans. This ideological, folks -- and the ideology Walker seeks to enact is misogyny.

In some quarters, very smart people still believe that the Tea Party movement is wholly secular in nature, despite ample evidence that shows its alliance and overlap with the religious right. Walker is a Tea Party darling. Hello, very smart people: the framing of the Tea Party movement as secular is nothing more than good marketing. As Walker's budget demonstrates, the Tea Party and the religious right are all of a piece. Not always one and the same -- but two strings of the same team.

AlterNet / By Adele M. Stan

Posted at March 4, 2011, 9:00am

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