Statewide budget cuts and legislation enacted early this summer have left the future of some women’s health initiatives in Wisconsin in question, and some local lawmakers are concerned that the counties they serve are being unfairly targeted.
The state’s biennial budget cut funding to the state’s reproductive health and family planning program by 10 percent and required the renamed “women’s health block grant” and “women’s health funds,” to only be distributed to public entities. Those entities may provide the funds to other public or private entities, as long as they do not provide or refer for abortion services.
As a result, Winnebago County and eight other counties that were previously provided family planning services in partnership with Planned Parenthood are no longer eligible for state funding for the program.
The loss of funding marks the second time funding for women’s health programs has been upended in Winnebago County as a result of its now forbidden partnership with Planned Parenthood.
The provision also led the state to terminate a 16-year contract with Planned Parenthood to provide the Wisconsin Well Woman Program in Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Outagamie and Sheboygan counties. The Well Woman Program provides cancer screening and other preventative health screening services to women with little or no health insurance coverage.