Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced on Sept. 26 that it closed its fifth family planning health center — a center in Fond du Lac County — as “a direct consequence of Gov. Scott Walker’s targeted elimination of all state funds supporting preventative patient care at Planned Parenthood in the state budget.”
A news release from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said all of the impacted health centers provided “essential health care including breast and cervical cancer screens, health exams, birth control and testing and treatment of STD’s to women in need of affordable reproductive care. None of the affected health centers provided abortion services or referrals due to state laws that prohibit the use of state funds for anything abortion related.”
Walker and Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature targeted cuts for thousands of low income and uninsured patients at Planned Parenthood because of their opposition to birth control and abortion services provided at three Planned Parenthood locations.
Tanya Atkinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, said on Sept. 26, “It is disheartening that 36 years of essential health care benefiting more than 36,000 women and men in the Fond du Lac community would be stopped by those with a political agenda. For some of our patients, Planned Parenthood was their only health care provider and a referral source to other community resources providing medical care, health insurance, food assistance and housing support. Knowing the need and value of this care for so many women and families, it is troubling that Gov. Walker would eliminate this essential health care.”
Katherine Meine, a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood, added, “Over the years, we have come to know many of our patients on a deeply personal level. From holding the hand of a patient concerned about a lump in her breast or helping a woman understand her diagnostic and treatment options following a positive cervical cancer screen, we have been there with our patients during difficult times. Women’s health matters to us, our patients, their families and the majority in the community and should not be treated like a political game.”
Patient Liza Durkin said the governor “just doesn’t care about people like me when he takes away affordable health care I rely on.” She said her health affairs “shouldn’t be a political issue” for Scott Walker.
Atkinson, in the news release, reminded Planned Parenthood supporters that Walker is facing re-election on Nov. 4.
She said, “This November, we hope people will join with us and vote for Mary Burke, a candidate who shares our values and cares about healthy families and communities.”
Fond du Lac patients should call 800-230-PLAN or visit www.ppwi.org to find their nearest health center. Planned Parenthood’s health centers in West Bend, Oshkosh and Sheboygan remain open.