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Legislators priorities don't reflect public
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Talk about wrong priorities! At a time when the people of Wisconsin are trying their best to weather decreased wages, lost jobs, and the lack of affordable health insurance, state legislative leadership is so determined to advance their personal social agendas, that this week they advanced six anti-women’s health proposals within a 48-hour period.

After ending state grant funds to nonprofit health care providers like Planned Parenthood this summer, the legislative leadership is now focused on ending the Well Woman Program at Planned Parenthood and reducing access for thousands of more individuals and families currently on BadgerCare. And if reducing access to preventive health care services like birth control and life-saving cancer screens wasn’t enough, legislative leaders also worked to push a repeal of the Healthy Youth Act forward in order to end comprehensive sex education programs in schools.

Despite the fact that investment in these prevention-based services and information will ultimately save taxpayers millions in annual costs associated with unintended pregnancy and STDs and result in a healthier, more economically viable community, these programs are slated for more cuts.

Worse, legislative leaders, are spending valuable time and money to undermine taxpayers' access to preventive information and care during a time when the public is clamoring for economic stability.

Unfortunately, the insanity does not stop there. The same legislators who are obsessed with limiting access to birth control and sex education tools - essential for the prevention of unintended pregnancy and the incidence of abortion – are also advancing bills to limit and even outlaw access to legal abortion.  A bill that prohibits health insurance plans from covering abortion services passed the Senate this week on a party line vote. A bill intended to regulate Wisconsin’s four remaining abortion providers out of business is in the hopper. And if those aren’t extreme enough, a bill introduced this week, LRB 2859/1, would amend the Wisconsin Constitution to outlaw fertility treatment, birth control and abortion.

Despite the public’s increasing frustration at our elected leaders’ misplaced priorities and their claims of working on a jobs agenda, the list of ideological attacks targeting Planned Parenthood and our patients’ ability to access continued care has continued to grow.

While the political motivations behind all of these attacks could not be clearer and will surely take resources away from the people who turn to Planned Parenthood for care -- we welcome the opportunity to tell the Wisconsin people about the work Planned Parenthood does every day to detect and prevent cancer and STDs, to help parents and teens talk about healthy relationships, to reduce unintended pregnancy, and to provide safe, legal abortion care.

Planned Parenthood is a trusted nonprofit provider of professional, reliable, high-quality health care. More than 97% of what we do every day is preventive, including life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control and STD testing and treatment to 70,000 women, men, and teens each year across Wisconsin.

Since the beginning of this legislative attack on women’s access to reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood has been there to serve thousands of women and families with the essential health care they need and deserve. So while the legislative leadership continue to push their personal social agendas during this economic downturn, Planned Parenthood remains committed to our priority of providing essential health care services and education to keep women and our communities safe, healthy, and strong.  We call on the public who shares these same priorities to call upon their elected leaders to break away from the pack mentality, stand up for what is right, and end these senseless attacks on women’s health care access and sex education.

                   -Teri Huyck

      President and CEO

    Planned Parenthood

                of Wisconsin