Planned Parenthood is being forced to close four of its clinics in Wisconsin after the state enacted legislation to defund businesses that perform or refer for abortions. The “family planning” group — whose affiliates nationwide performed 333,964 abortions and reported $87.4 million in profits during 2010-11 — announced that it would shutter facilities in Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls, and Shawano over the next several months, citing a loss of $1.1 million in state funding. Wisconsin is at least the fourth state over the past two years to successfully defund Planned Parenthood and other businesses that perform abortions.
The state legislature enacted a budget for 2011-2013 that eliminates funding to family planning clinics that provide abortions or refer women to a clinic that performs the procedure. In a press conference, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin complained that some 2,000 low-income women whom they say rely on the clinics for cancer screening, breast exams, pregnancy testing, and other services would now be left out in the cold. “They are small centers in small communities and they needed the state funding to make them financially viable,” said Planned Parenthood spokesperson Teri Huyck. “It's terribly unfortunate for the women who live in these areas. Without the state support, we didn't have a choice.”
Nicole Safar, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, insisted that the funding her employer lost was never used for abortions, since it is against the law to use either state or federal funds for the murderous procedure. “They weren't reimbursements for patient services directly,” she said. “None of these centers provided abortion services....” She said that in the communities where the clinics closed, “there is nowhere else for low-income women to get these services. These centers focused on preventing unplanned pregnancies and reducing the need for abortions.”
Deb Lidbury, a nurse practitioner with Wisconsin Planned Parenthood, said that the four clinics had been part of the communities for 35 years. “It is disheartening to know that these services will be stopped by those with a political agenda.” she said.
Pro-life leaders said with the closing of the abortion-related clinics, other health providers that don't perform or refer for the procedure will pick up the slack for family planning and other services Planned Parenthood said it provided.
They also said that the absence of the clinics will mean pre-born babies — and their mothers — will be much safer in the state. “Governor Walker and the state legislature acted courageously to protect Wisconsin taxpayers from having their tax dollars used to destroy human life,” said Susan Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life, of the defunding measure. “While there is more work to be done to protect taxpayers from paying for abortions, this state budget has greatly improved the situation. On behalf of Wisconsin Right to Life members and supporters throughout the state, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Governor Walker and the legislature.”
Similarly, Matt Sande of the group Pro-Life Wisconsin said that state taxpayers “who conscientiously oppose the use of public funds to directly or indirectly subsidize abortion applauded last session’s state budget bill partially defunding Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, the state’s largest abortion provider.” He added that taxpayers welcomed the abortion giant's decision to close the four clinics, noting that the facilities were known for referring for abortion and dispensing abortifacient drugs — “often to minor children without parental notification.”
Wisconsin Right to Life reported that in 2010, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin performed 4,827 abortions throughout the state, 62 percent of all Wisconsin's abortions. By contrast, the group's annual report accounted for no adoption referrals and no pre-natal care recipients at any of its state clinics. Nonetheless, “the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates received over $542 million in state and federal taxpayer dollars in 2011,” the state pro-life group said. “In addition, PPFA has mandated that all of its affiliates perform abortions by 2013.”
Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said “it is far past time for Wisconsin citizens to recognize that Planned Parenthood, through its local clinics, refers the overwhelming majority of pregnant women it sees to abortion clinics, most probably one of its own abortion clinics, where a fee is extracted from the women.”
Lyons called it “a good outcome for women and children” and “excellent news” that the four clinics are slated to close.