Scott Walker's All-Out War on Wisconsin Women
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If Walker's stance on Planned Parenthood seems illogical, it complements perfectly a slew of other budget provisions aimed at low-income women. For the unemployed single moms in Oshkosh and Kenosha, the loss of a local abortion clinic merely adds insult to injury. Separately in the budget, deep cuts Medicaid funding threaten a lifeline for the poor and uninsured in a state where the number of adults in poverty has grown by an estimated 119,300 since 2007, and where the poverty rate of children in single-parent households has reached about 40 percent.
Poor families will see cuts to tax credits that help them scrape by between paychecks, while corporations will be rewarded with lower taxes, thanks to a governor whose rise to the national stage was fueled by the Koch brothers' political dynasty.
With the same unconscionable logic, the attacks on women's well-being parallel a rollback in public support for children. The budget slices $800 million out of public education aid and guts state-sponsored college scholarships. In the wake of Walker's attack on civil servants' collective bargaining rights earlier this year, the final budget underscores the overlapping effects of starving the public sector. Since women make up the majority of state and local employees and enjoy high unionization rates, they face disproportionate pain from government cuts, in terms of job loss as well as cuts to social programs they need to avoid sliding toward poverty.
Beyond the war on choice, the cruel budget cuts in Walker's budget feed a far broader and more dangerous battle: not just against a woman's right to choose, but her right to live her own life.
Michelle Chen has written for ColorLines, In These Times, South China Morning Post, and her own zine, cain.