The first Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin opened in Milwaukee in 1935, with only a small group of volunteers to keep it running. Since then, they’ve reached an average of serving over 60,000 people per year in their 22 health centers across Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) reports that one in five women have gone to a Planned Parenthood at some point in their lives. Since many patients don’t have primary health care providers, they rely on PPWI for resources and support.
Their advocacy statement is focused on expanding reproductive health care and education while supporting pro-woman and pro-family policies. Their work is in support of surrounding families and communities who wish to lead healthy lives in all levels of proactivity. Sex education, contraceptives, unbiased medical results, STD testing and treatment, family planning, breast and cervical cancer screening – Planned Parenthood has been a major impetus of health care in several parts of Wisconsin. As for the health care that takes place there, only three percent are abortion services.
Since Scott Walker’s elimination of Planned Parenthood’s state funding in 2011 and recent Wisconsin lawmakers in the state Assembly voting to block PPWI’s $3.5 million in federal funds, there is a serious threat that could permanently close the clinic’s doors. As a result of these budget cuts in recent years, five PPWI clinics have closed down. Beaver Dam, Shawano, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls and Fond du Lac are the included Planned Parenthood health care centers that have faced recent closures as a result of the statewide defunding.
Thousands of women in these areas have been forced to seek health care in other domains – some far from their homes, while others find themselves completely without resource. When did ideology and politics become welcome in the realm of individual health? Why must the bodies of these women be first manipulated and approved upon before further action is allowed? How can women feel valued and empowered in their personal decisions if political agendas and religious beliefs are constricting a right to their own bodies?
The “American Dream” is unachievable for women who are denied their human right to fair health care within the borders of their nation. Individual opinion and choice should be left unshaken and free of prejudice – especially in rough times as these. The hope is that future decisions within the legislation of our country will support the positive impact of Planned Parenthood – rather than uproot its solid foundations.