During a hearing to further defund Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, bill author state Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) said Planned Parenthood is not needed because “everyone in Wisconsin has access to health care.”
Kapenga went on to say that if anyone has evidence of an instance where a person was not able to access health care to let him know.
Planned Parenthood Sept. 14 delivered over 235 letters to Kapenga from Wisconsin women and men who have struggled to access needed health care.
Among them was a Hillsboro woman identified only as Karen.
“Since moving to Vernon County twenty years ago, I have had an extremely difficult time finding health care,” Karen wrote. “Although I have Medicare, I cannot afford to use it, as the premiums cost more than I can really afford, and there is no way for me to pay the yearly deductible, let alone co-payments. So for more than 15 years now, I have not had access to healthcare.”
According to a press release from Planned Parenthood, many respondents live paycheck to paycheck, can’t afford health insurance, co-pays, or simply don’t have money left over for essential health care after paying for food, housing, child care, and transportation costs.
“These women and men sent a message to Kapenga that ‘Planned Parenthood was there for me when I had nowhere else to go'," Iris Riis of Planned Parenthood said in a statement.
“As a health care provider that works with women and men every day, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the need for quality and affordable health care,” said Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “That is why we are working so hard to protect the community’s continued access to the essential health care they need. If Sen. Kapenga and Rep. (Andre) Jacque (R-De Pere) really want to understand the importance of Planned Parenthood and women’s health care access, all they have to do is listen to Wisconsin’s community-based health care providers and the voices of our patients.”
On a party-line vote Sept. 15, the Assembly Committee on Health advanced two bills to intended to block Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers from receiving federal funding for providing preventative reproductive care to those in need.
The bills appear to be fast tracked for passage in the Assembly despite overwhelming opposition to the policies because of the health care gaps that would be created without the current network of community based health care providers. No health care providers have registered support for these bills.