A new report commissioned by Karl Rove and other right-wing groups found that female voters, especially those in the Midwest, see the Republican Party as “stuck in the past,” and with Scott Walker’s extreme record on women’s access to birth control and comprehensive reproductive healthcare it’s easy to see why.
Although investing in women’s health and preserving their rights to make personal medical decisions should be a non-partisan issue, Scott Walker and his Republican legislature voted along party lines to completely defund Planned Parenthood, threatening access to critical preventive healthcare like breast and cervical screenings.
The elimination of state funding to Planned Parenthood disrupted services at nine family planning and healthcare centers in Kenosha, Winnebago, Eau Claire, Shawano, Wood, Chippewa Falls, Dodge, Fond du lac, and Jefferson Counties. In 8 of the 9 counties, Planned Parenthood was the only family planning provider.
In addition to losing massive amounts of funding for key health centers and family planning services across the state, four Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin health centers were forced to close in Shawano, Chippewa Falls, Beaver Dam, and Johnson Creek.
The four health centers closed due to Scott Walker’s policies provided birth control counseling and options, lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, annual exams, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, HIV testing, and well woman exams.
Walker’s first budget also proposed the repeal of Wisconsin’s 2009 Contraceptive Equity law, which required all insurance policies that contain a prescription drug benefit to cover prescription contraceptives. Since most Wisconsin residents get their health insurance through their employers, workplace equality demands that women have coverage for all the prescriptions they need, including birth control.
Most recently, Walker successfully erected barriers to women’s rights to access safe, legal abortion by quietly signing a law mandating medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds and the reading of a state-authored shaming script.
“It’s no surprise that women voters can’t get away from this Republican Party far or fast enough — Scott Walker promised to focus like a laser on jobs but instead he’s been focused on enacting one of the most extreme anti-women agendas in the country,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Melissa Baldauff said Wednesday. “I assure you that the jobs Scott Walker has failed to create are not in women’s uteruses nor are they hiding in the women’s healthcare clinics that were shuttered by Scott Walker’s rigid ideology. It’s time to stop regulating women’s bodies and our choices and start trying to turn our state around.”