Due to right-wing wingnut Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's 2011 budget eliminations of public funding for Planned Parenthood, the group is suffering financially. Because of this, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced today that they're forced to close four locations in the state — Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls and Shawano — between April and July of this year.
Even worse, in all of these communities, Planned Parenthood is the only reproductive health care provider, and the approximately 2,000 people they serve will be forced to travel further for help. As we've learned many times, barriers like inaccessibility and transportation are huge reasons why women don't get the health care they need.
This is all happening because a miniscule portion of what Planned Parenthood does is provide much-needed abortion care. Even though state and federal funds can't be spent on abortions, the new budget wipes away the money Planned Parenthood needs for important infrastructure. Without administration, they can't provide women's wellness exams, cancer screening, contraception, reproductive health needs, and much more. It's a problem.
"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 for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. "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."
Currently, 23 centers remain in the state, and Planned Parenthood intends to keep all of them open. The funny thing is, the four closing clinics didn't even provide abortion services (using federal or state funds for abortions is verboten, anyway); they were just unlucky enough to lose the funds needed to provide basic women's health care to ladies in their communities.