MADISON – Today, following news that state budget cuts have forced the closure of four Wisconsin Planned Parenthood clinics, Jenni Dye, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin said that anti-choice legislative attacks are undermining access to healthcare.
Planned Parenthood’s closure of the Johnson Creek, Shawano, Chippewa Falls, and Beaver Dam clinics means that women in these areas will be without reproductive healthcare in their communities. Women will be forced to drive farther or go without basic care, such as wellness exams and birth control.
“Limiting access to basic preventative care, like birth control, is the natural end result of anti-choice attacks on women’s reproductive rights and health clinics such as Planned Parenthood, such as the elimination of state funding we saw last session, ” said Dye. “This is a huge loss not only for the people in the communities directly affected by clinic closures but for all of Wisconsin. We must work together to ensure that all Wisconsinites have access to basic healthcare.”
The clinic closures come just one week after Governor Walker’s announcement that he is turning down resources to expand Medicaid. “Politicians at the Capitol are playing politics with our health, and their game has very real consequences for Wisconsinites. It is time for our elected officials to put politics aside and ensure that all Wisconsinites have access in their communities to healthcare that they choose,” said Dye.
MADISON- Today Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced the closure of four family planning health centers in Shawano, Chippewa Falls, Johnson Creek and Beaver Dam between April and July of this year. These closures are a direct consequence of the Legislature’s elimination of funding benefiting patients at Planned Parenthood in the last budget cycle. Over the past year, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin worked to minimize the impact of the Legislature’s significant budget cuts on our patients. Despite efforts to sustain services to these patients for over a year without state funding, Planned Parenthood has been forced to end health care services in these four health centers. These unfortunate health center closures will result in the disruption and a loss of over 11,400 health care services for approximately 2,000 patients including lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, annual exams, pregnancy tests, STD testing and treatment, HIV screening, and referrals to a network of community resources. Planned Parenthood will maintain health care services in 23 health centers across the state.
“For 78 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has been providing high quality health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams, birth control, and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to approximately 80,000 women and families in 27 health centers across Wisconsin,” said Deb Bonilla, Vice President of Patient Services. “Continued patient care is our top priority. Health center staff are working with the affected patients to identify health care alternatives to minimize the impact of these closures.”
Nearly 165,000 Wisconsin women who are in need of publicly supported reproductive & sexual health services go without needed health care. Despite this unmet need, during the last budget cycle Governor Walker ended state funding for 12,000 women who receive health care at Planned Parenthood. This coupled with the Governor’s recent rejection of federal funds and the resulting drastic rollback of BadgerCare coverage will increase the amount of women who do not have access to health care. These politically motivated actions will have a significant impact on women seeking affordable health care.
“Women are going to have to drive even longer distances just to get basic health care like wellness exams, cancer screenings and birth control,” said Deb Bonilla, Vice President of Patient Services. “We are doing all we can to ensure that women get the care they need, but in some instances the resulting barriers to care will make health care access very difficult.”
In all four of these communities, Planned Parenthood is the only reproductive health provider. Uninsured or financially constrained patients seeking health care will need to travel outside of their county and in some instances up to an hour to receive essential health care services. For some women, this added burden could make the difference in whether they access routine cancer screens, STD tests, treatment or birth control.
“Cutting funds and turning away resources tied to the Medicaid program when people are going without essential health care will negatively impact community health and cost taxpayers’ money,” said Nicole Safar, Public Policy Director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “Barriers to preventative and lifesaving diagnostic health care will most certainly result in an increase of the number of unintended pregnancies, abortions, undetected cancer occurrences and higher STD/HIV rates. This year we will be watching closely to see what impact this budget will have on Wisconsin communities and the women and families that rely on Planned Parenthood.”
At Planned Parenthood, we remain unwavering in our belief that all people deserve access to high quality and affordable health care. As the state’s largest non-profit reproductive health care provider, we will continue to be there for our patients to provide affordable and quality health care and to advocate on their behalf to keep them safe, healthy and strong – no matter what.
Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Legislature eliminated funding for patients accessing reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood in the 2011-2013 Biennial State Budget. The services provided by Planned Parenthood include birth control counseling and options, lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, annual exams, STD testing and treatment, Well Women Exams, pregnancy testing, HIV testing, and colposcopies (advanced cervical cancer tests).
Investing in women’s health is a non-partisan issue as it contributes to healthy women, men and families for Wisconsin while saving taxpayers’ money. For every $1 spent on family planning taxpayers save $4 (The Guttmacher Institute).
The elimination of state funding to Planned Parenthood in 2012 resulted in the loss of funding in 9 of Planned Parenthood’s 27 family planning health centers in Kenosha, Winnebago, Eau Claire, Shawano, Wood, Chippewa Falls, Dodge, Fond du lac, and Jefferson Counties. These health centers serve 12,000 women each year and in 8 of the 9 counties Planned Parenthood is the ONLY family planning provider.
According to the latest data, there are 282,000 women in Wisconsin in need of publicly funded reproductive health care services. Current provider networks and funding sources provide care for only 95,000 patients. The vast majority of these patients do not have access to affordable health insurance and receive assistance from various public funding sources to access this basic care.
In 2008, the network of family planning providers in Wisconsin averted 24,300 unintended pregnancies, 12,100 abortions and saved taxpayers $94 million in averted health care costs.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is closing 4 health centers in Beaver Dam, Shawano, Johnson Creek and Chippewa Falls. Health center staff at the four affected health centers have been serving the communities for decades: Beaver Dam 1977, Chippewa Falls 1984, Shawano 1979, and Johnson Creek 1999.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin health centers will close on the following dates: Shawano April 19; Chippewa Falls May 17; Beaver Dam June 14; Johnson Creek July 19.
These four health centers provide birth control counseling and options, lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, annual exams, STD testing and treatment, Well Women Exams, pregnancy testing, HIV testing and referrals to a network of community resources.
In just the last 10 years these four health centers have provided services to 26,951 patients.
PPWI’s Role as the Leading Provider of Women’s and Reproductive Health in Wisconsin
For 78 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has been the leading reproductive health care provider in the state. PPWI provided essential health care services like cervical and breast cancer screenings, wellness exams, STD testing and treatment, and birth control education and services to 80,000 patients in 2012.
CFC president Jon O’Brien issued the following response to complaints from the USCCB about the Obama administration’s accommodation over contraceptive coverage.
“What is the matter with the bishops? Last week the Obama administration conceded the health and welfare of women to placate the bishops, and yet they’re still railing that they’re somehow offended. The new, expanded designation of employers who can claim a full exemption to contraceptive coverage—that means no ‘accommodation’—will, for example, affect employees (and their dependents) at more than 6,000 Catholic schools. One million employees and their dependents at thousands of Catholic-related institutions will have to hope that the alternative ways to access contraception work as well as those in the administration claim they will. But the bishops got what they wanted: they and their friends don’t have to provide coverage for birth control, religious liberty of their employees be damned.
“The bishops’ hyperbolic reaction to the provision of basic healthcare reveals how far they have strayed from the social justice tradition that most Catholics embrace. Having failed to convince Catholics to avoid using modern methods of family planning, the hierarchy is reduced to demanding that the federal government enforce their prohibition, or at least make contraception more expensive for the bishops’ employees than it is for the rest of the population. This is an unconscionable attack on the healthcare available to employees at Catholic-related institutions who forsake higher salaries and better benefits because of their own commitment to social justice.
“The bottom line, which the bishops don’t want to acknowledge, is that Catholics use contraception at the same rate as do all Americans. Some 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women have used a method that the bishops prohibit. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the bishops are still complaining about contraception—but the administration should stop listening. Catholics already have.”
Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women’s well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.
January 31, 2013 — FDA regulators announced they will not take action regarding a vending machine that dispenses emergency contraception on Shippensburg University’s campus in Pennsylvania, MSN News reports.
The machine is located in the school’s health center, which can only be accessed by students and employees, and offers Plan B One-Step for $25. Under federal law, individuals ages 17 and older may purchase EC without a prescription.
The machine has been in place for about three years but it wasn’t widely known until it drew national media attention last year, prompting critics to claim it would encourage students to have sex. In response to the scrutiny, the Student Senate and the University Forum both passed resolutions in support of keeping the machine.
Erica Jefferson, an FDA spokesperson, in a statement said the agency “looked at publicly available information about Shippensburg’s vending program and spoke with university and campus health officials and decided not to take any regulatory actions.”
Peter Gigliotti, executive director for university communications and marketing, in a statement said an additional card reader has been installed on the machine, which students must use before accessing the drugs (Eng, MSN News, 1/29).
On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we reaffirm its historic commitment to protect the health and reproductive freedom of women across this country and stand by its guiding principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters, and women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care. Today and every day, my Administration continues our efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. On this anniversary, we recommit ourselves to supporting women and families in the choices they make and redouble our efforts to promote safe and healthy communities.
[From our friend Carey Pope]
An important fact that is often missing in the debate around abortion is that, for many women, the decision to have an abortion is informed by an already existing family unit. Six out of every ten American women having an abortion already have a child, and more than three out of ten have two or more children. At the same time, more than 40% of American women who have an abortion are living below the federal poverty level ($18,530 for a family of three). For poor women with children, abortion can be a critical financial issue for their families.
Yet, our policies on abortion in the United States don’t reflect this reality. Federal funding—and public funding in general—for abortion is nearly nonexistent. This became headline news again in 2011 when Congress imposed a ban prohibiting the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised revenues to provide abortion services to its residents, thereby obstructing a local government’s autonomy.
The debate around public funding for abortion isn’t a new one. In 1973, before funding for abortion in the U.S. was cut off, the Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act passed, prohibiting the use of U.S. funds for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning, or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions. In 1976, we were given the Hyde Amendment, which forbids federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the woman.
Millions of women in the United States and around the world benefit from U.S.-funded programs that improve maternal health. Yet the Helms and Hyde Amendments undermine that important work, harming women, particularly low-income women and women of color. The Helms Amendment has effectively been applied as a total ban on speech and services for safe abortion and on any activity that might enable a health worker to know what to do or to have the means to help when a woman has an unwanted pregnancy. In fact, the United States is the largest single donor for family planning—which of course is a way of preventing abortion—and a huge supporter of postabortion care programs designed to treat complications from unsafe abortion.
In our work at Ipas, we see the impact of unsafe abortion—something that is entirely preventable—all the time. Take, for instance, the story of Meena, a 23-year-old woman with two children in Nepal, where abortion is legally permitted. Meena went to a local health clinic in the remote Kailali District with an unwanted pregnancy. Because the facility was U.S.-funded, the nurse there did not help Meena with a safe abortion and instead referred her to a hospital 60 miles away—too far for Meena to travel on foot or ox cart. So Meena tried to self-induce with sticks. She went back to the clinic two weeks later with a severe infection and was given (more traumatic and expensive) emergency treatment, considered postabortion care and thus available in a U.S.-funded program.
The Hyde Amendment functions in the U.S. in much the same way as the Helms Amendment does abroad, restricting access to abortion care for U.S. women. I haven’t read anything quite as compelling as the testimony from Toni Bond Leonard, former president of the board of directors of the National Network of Abortion Funds and former CEO of Black Women for Reproductive Justice, who shared her story at a 2010 Congressional briefing. Toni was pregnant at age 12. Her mother, who was unable to work and relied on welfare, realized that if Toni carried the pregnancy to term, she’d essentially be raising another child, spreading the family resources even thinner. “She wanted better for me,” said Toni. So the light bill and the rent went unpaid and they didn’t have enough food—all so Toni could get an abortion. “Hyde set off a life-changing course of events for me and my family, which could have been prevented with public funding,” Toni said. “Hyde punishes women for being poor.”
The most striking part of Meena and Toni’s stories is that they aren’t unusual. Every day, everywhere, women make these choices for their families—both the ones they have, and the ones they hope to have. But U.S. abortion funding bans don’t reflect the complexity of women’s reproductive lives and the challenges of low-income women with children. After 40 years, isn’t it time that our policies reflect real women and real families?
Carey Pope is the Senior Associate for Advocacy Communications at Ipas, a global organization dedicated to ending preventable deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortion. Follow her and Ipas on Twitter @IpasOrg.
This post is part of Still Wading: Forty years of resistance, resilience and reclamation in communities of color, a blog series by Strong Families commemorating the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade.
[From our friend Jennifer Dalven at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project]
Forty years ago today, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that recognized that a pregnant woman has a right to make her own decision about whether to have a child or have an abortion. Since then, some politicians have been trying to take that decision out of a woman’s hands. But over the past two years, these efforts have reached record levels. In those two short years, our elected representatives found the time to pass almost 140 provisions designed to interfere with a woman and her family’s private decision about abortion.
If you’ve had the feeling things have been getting worse, you are right. In fact, more than half of all American women now live in a state where the legislature is hostile to a woman’s access to abortion. (That’s up from less 1/3 just a decade ago).
Now, of course, we don’t all feel the same way about abortion and we don’t have to. But we should be able to agree that this incredibly important and personal decision is better made by a woman, her family, and her doctor than by politicians sitting in the state legislature or on Capitol Hill.
Indeed, the American people have shown they don’t want politicians to interfere in personal, private decision-making. Who can say whether it was the bills that require a woman to have an ultrasound and look at the picture before she has an abortion? Or that all-male panel that testified before Congress about whether a woman’s insurance plan should cover her contraception? Or that telling comment about “legitimate rape?” Or perhaps it was those 140 new restrictions? Regardless of what the tipping point was, one thing is clear: the American people have had enough.
This year, across the country, people came together to speak out against these restrictions and those who pushed them. In states like Virginia, Oklahoma, Michigan,and Idaho, women and men took time out of their busy lives to go to their state capitols and tell their representatives to leave these decisions where they belong: with a woman and her family.
And these folks aren’t just talking, they are voting. Recently, voters in states as diverse as Mississippi (yes, Mississippi!) and Colorado, Florida and North Dakota all rejected ballot measures that would have interfered with a woman’s ability to make her own decisions about pregnancy and abortion. And this year, politicians with extreme views on abortion lost at the polls, even in conservative states. In fact, Americans are so fed up with politicians trying to interfere with a woman’s private health care decision, that a Gallup poll found that 39 percent of women in 12 battleground states said abortion was the most important issue for women in the election.
Incredibly, however, some politicians still haven’t gotten the message. Right after the election, in a lame-duck session in Michigan, with the public locked out of the statehouse, politicians snuck through onerous and unnecessary regulations on women’s health centers. And, over the holidays, the governor of Virginia quietly advanced new restrictions designed to shut down all women’s health centers in the state – you know, the very restrictions that the Health Commissioner resigned over because they were based on politics rather than protecting a woman’s health.
These stealth attacks notwithstanding, two things haven’t changed. First, Americans have had enough of politicians trying to take that decision away from a woman and her family. Second, if we continue to speak out, we can stem this tide. We can stop politicians from interfering in a woman’s private health care decisions. We can get them back to working for American women and their families instead of against them. Forty years after Roe, it’s about time.
By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s only abortion clinic missed a Friday deadline to comply with a 2012 state law that requires each of its physicians to get hospital admitting privileges — a law the governor said he signed with the hopes of shutting the clinic down.
The state Health Department won’t immediately close the clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The department will set an inspection later, and if it orders a shutdown, the clinic can appeal.
Clinic administrator Diane Derzis said every Jackson-area hospital where the clinic applied for privileges said no.
“They were clear that they didn’t deal with abortion and they didn’t want the internal or the external pressure of dealing with it,” Derzis told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said repeatedly that he wants Mississippi to be abortion-free.
“My goal, of course, is to shut it down,” Bryant said Thursday. “Now, we’ll follow the laws. The bill is in the courts now, related to the physicians and their association with a hospital. But, certainly, if I had the power to do so legally, I’d do so tomorrow.”
The law requires anyone doing abortions in a clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a hospital near the facility where the abortions are done. The clinic filed a lawsuit last summer. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III gave the facility time to try to comply with the law, blocking any criminal or civil penalties while the clinic tried to do so.
Admitting privileges can be difficult to obtain. Some hospitals won’t issue them to out-of-state physicians, while hospitals that are affiliated with religious groups might not want to associate with anyone who does elective abortions.
One of the clinic’s four physicians has admitting privileges, but the clinic said in court papers that he does little work at the clinic and he had the privileges before the new law took effect last July. The other three don’t have privileges.
Even if the clinic’s physicians don’t have admitting privileges, a patient can be transferred from the clinic to a hospital emergency room, if needed. The clinic has said the customary practice is for a hospital to remain in contact with the physician who transferred the patient to the emergency room, regardless of whether that physician has admitting privileges at the hospital.
In November, the clinic asked Jordan to extend its time to comply with the law. Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood on Friday filed a 35-page response, saying the law should take full effect because it’s designed to protect patients’ safety.
“Two federal circuit courts have expressly found that ‘admitting privileges at local hospitals and referral arrangements with local expert’ are ‘so obviously beneficial to patients’ undergoing abortions as to easily withstand a facial constitutional challenge alleging them to be undue burdens,” Hood wrote.
No hearing has been set for Jordan to consider the competing requests.
Bryant’s comments about wanting to shut the clinic came in response to reporters’ questions after he spoke to several dozen pastors at a Pro-Life Mississippi luncheon, where people talked about holding church services outside the clinic for 40 days to mark the coming 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.
The clinic is about two miles north of the state Capitol building, in a trendy neighborhood with restaurants, art galleries and clothing stores. It’s a nondescript mauve building separated from a street by an iron fence woven with the type of heavy black vinyl that’s used for easy-clean restaurant tablecloths.
Outside the clinic Friday, small groups of people prayed, sang hymns and tried to talk to women as they entered or left.
“Any county you’re from, there is help available for you folks,” Cal Zastrow of Jackson called out to a woman as she walked to her car to leave.
“I’m not pregnant,” the woman replied tersely.
Zastrow’s 19-year-old daughter, Corrie, said her family has prayed outside abortion clinics since she was a small child. She said they once helped persuade a woman in Michigan not to have an abortion, and the woman later gave birth to twins.
“Holding that little baby was just incredible,” Corrie Zastrow said.
At the Capitol Friday, Democratic Rep. Steve Holland said he was frustrated by conservative lawmakers’ continuing efforts to restrict abortion.
“Until Roe v. Wade is reversed, that subject should never come up in the Legislature again,” he said.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Only-Miss-abortion-clinic-can-t-comply-with-law-4187469.php#ixzz2Hy6BsuRJ