Wisconsin GOP Takes Women Backward, Not “Forward”
Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a holiday rooted in the American Women’s Suffrage Movement and intended to raise awareness and celebrate the economic, social and political achievements of women across the globe.
Wisconsin has historically been a champion of women’s rights in America, becoming in 1919 the first state to ratify the 19th amendment granting national suffrage to women and passing in 1921 the nation’s first equal rights bill. Given the pioneering ways of our forefathers, the zealotry of right-wing ideologues willing to drive Wisconsin backward instead of “Forward” is all the more disturbing.
Some of the anti-woman, anti-family hypocrisy displayed by the Republican Party is highlighted below:
- Paul “Mr. Wall Street” Ryan supported billions of dollars in corporate giveaways to his Wall Street and Big Oil cronies. Now, as Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan supports a budget proposal that literally takes food out of the mouths of babies, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women by slashing nearly a billion dollars in funding from the successful WIC nutrition program, which serves 45% of infants born in the United States.
- Ryan’s budget also would cut more than $200 million from the Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grant which provides and ensures access to comprehensive perinatal care for women, preventative and child care services, comprehensive care services for children with special health needs, rehabilitation services for blind and disabled children and immunizations, in addition to programs and services aimed at reducing infant mortality, a growing problem in parts of Southeastern Wisconsin, where infant mortality rates among African-American women rival those of third world countries.
- Scott Walker takes the anti-woman extremism even further by gutting family planning services and completely eliminating the Title V program in Wisconsin, which provides critical health care services to uninsured women and men including cervical cancer screens, prostate cancer screenings, breast and well women exams and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Walker’s backward budget also allows insurance companies to discriminate against women by denying coverage for legally prescribed birth control, a divisive, partisan overreach that not only infringes on the rights of women, but insults the ability of medical professionals to determine which medications and treatments are appropriate for their patients.
- Hollywood Sean Duffy promised to bring jobs to the hardworking women and men of the north woods. Instead, he is leading the radical Republican charge to defund community health centers like Planned Parenthood, which for many women are the only providers for vital health services, repeal the successful Affordable Care Act that provides health care for thousands of Wisconsin families, redefine rape and allow doctors and hospitals to refuse pregnant women life-saving treatments.
- Representing Wisconsin, where women earn about 71 cents to a man’s dollar (45th in the nation), Republican Congressmen Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Petri all voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which guarantees equal pay for equal work.
 Institute for Women’s Policy Research: The Status of Women in Wisconsin