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Evers Wants To Restore Funding For Planned Parenthood In Budget

Darren Hauck/Getty Images
Tony Evers speaks to supporters at the Racine County Democratic office on Nov. 4, 2018, in Racine, Wis. Days later he was elected governor of Wisconsin.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers rolled out another budget initiative while in Milwaukee Thursday. He says he’ll include $28 million for a range of women’s health care issues when he delivers his budget address next week.

Evers says part of the money would go toward restoring funding for Planned Parenthood. Republicans who control the Legislature will likely oppose the idea.

He says every woman, regardless of where they live, deserves access to comprehensive health care. The $28 million, he says, would include access to cancer screenings, health exams and testing for sexually transmitted infections. But, the idea that drew the most applause from those at the news conference at Milwaukee Health Services on the north side was Evers’ proposal to restore funding for Planned Parenthood — something that former Republican Gov. Scott Walker blocked.

“We’re going to start by expanding the ‘Well Woman’ program and bringing Planned Parenthood back into the fold as a trusted provider of health care services through the access of the women’s health block grant and changes in Title V and X eligibility,” Evers says.

Evers also called on the Department of Health Services to study ways to provide transportation to clinics for women who live in rural areas.

Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke says he likes all of these ideas, except for the one dealing with Planned Parenthood. He says the GOP will likely oppose funding for the organization.

“I think people are very sensitive, that they don’t want their taxpayer dollars going to places like Planned Parenthood that rely on abortion-related services,” Steineke says.

He says he doubts the GOP will approve the item, especially after Walker signed bills in 2016, reducing money for Planned Parenthood by several million dollars a year. He says there’s probably a “zero percent” chance that the Joint Finance Committee would keep that item in the budget.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.