Though Gov. Scott Walker redirected approximately $1 million of prior Wisconsin funding that went primarily to Planned Parenthood in his state to other public women’s health centers that do not provide abortions, a state lawmaker says there is “more work to do” and is seeking to completely defund Planned Parenthood in the state.
Wisconsin state Rep. André Jacque (R) believes now is the time for states to take a hard look at the various ways in which taxpayer funding flows to Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover investigative videos that allegedly show the organization’s chief medical personnel engaged in the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.
In the state’s 2011-2013 budget, Walker and the Wisconsin legislature replaced the prior funding for family planning services with a Women’s Health Block Grant, which required the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to allocate funds only to public entities and only for specific services, such as “pregnancy testing, perinatal care coordination and follow-up, cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted infection prevention, testing, treatment and follow-up, and general health screenings.”
Additionally, entities that receive state funds cannot, “(a) provide abortion services; (b) make referrals for abortion services; or (c) have an affiliate that provides abortion services or makes referrals for abortion services.”
Despite Walker’s statement, “I defunded Planned Parenthood,” Jacque states there is still more work to do in Wisconsin – as well as at the national level – to completely defund the nation’s largest provider of abortions.
In an interview with Breitbart News several weeks ago, Jacque observed that while Walker has been largely supportive of pro-life legislation in his state, he is hoping the governor will continue to support his legislation.
“I’ve been pleased to work directly with Gov. Walker on pro-life issues in the past,” Jacque said. “When I’ve come to him with ideas to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood in various state programs … he has been very supportive.”
Jacque also states, however, that Planned Parenthood receives funding “from all layers of government,” and his legislation seeks to address all those layers that are under some control of the state.
Similarly, pro-life group Wisconsin Family Action posted the following on its Facebook page several weeks ago:
We think the Governor needs to refine his statement on defunding Planned Parenthood of WI. In the first budget he did, he and the state legislature redirected about $1 million per year of General Purpose Revenue that had for years been going mostly to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin [PPWI] and some to other so-called “family planning” centers in the state. Other subsequent efforts have been considered to stop other public funding streams but nothing significant has been done. Right now PPWI receives between $15 and $16 million of taxpayer money each year. We have LOTS of work to do before we can say that Planned Parenthood of WI is truly defunded. We are hopeful the governor will refine his statement very soon and will champion legislation yet this session that will make his statement more true.
Two of Jacque’s measures would work to cut off “half or more of the funding each year that Planned Parenthood gets in Wisconsin,” he says.
One bill seeks to end what Jacque views as the “massive overbilling of Medicaid and taxpayers through abuse of the 340 B program,” and another would reprioritize Title X funds to public health programs and agencies.
The first bill would require family planning clinics, most notably, Planned Parenthood, to bill Medicaid for drugs at the actual acquisition cost (rather than their current heavily inflated rate), as well as a reasonable dispensing fee.
Planned Parenthood has been able to obtain drugs at rates that are heavily discounted and only available through the Medicaid 340B program, a situation Jacque says his legislation will address.
The change would bring Wisconsin in line with the majority of other states and save millions of taxpayer dollars, Jacque notes on his website.
According to Life Dynamics, “Wisconsin is one of the most ‘generous’ states in the country in terms of its relatively high allowed Medicaid reimbursement rate with state and federal taxpayer dollars for family planning providers through the 340B Program.”
“Planned Parenthood has clearly indicated that they will use whatever loopholes they can find to fill their coffers at taxpayers’ expense,” agrees Jacque.
A second bill would require the Wisconsin DHS “to apply for and prioritize the use of federal Title X preventive health services grant funds.”
“The state of Wisconsin, DHS, local public health agencies, and hospitals would all benefit from DHS taking control of Federal Title X funding allocated to Wisconsin, as well as mitigate the controversial subsidization of Planned Parenthood … that presently occurs,” Jacque states. “The sole grantee for the state of Wisconsin is currently Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $3 million annually from Title X.”
According to the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute, $3.19 million in Title X funds were granted to Wisconsin in fiscal year 2010. Mediatrackers also observes a 2014 report by the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association that finds Planned Parenthood exclusively receives the Title X funds.
Jacque states he admires Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) who has reprioritized Title X funds already, an action that has been upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
GOP presidential contender and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was also highly successful in redirecting Title X funds to family planning centers in his state that are not affiliated with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. As Newsweek observes, when Perry prohibited funding for low-income women’s health centers to go to Planned Parenthood clinics, the Obama administration argued the action was a violation of federal law and threatened to cut off Medicaid funding. Undaunted, Perry decided to fund the women’s health program completely with state monies.
Additionally, GOP 2016 candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly vetoed Democrat lawmakers’ attempts to fund Planned Parenthood in his state, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich – another presidential hopeful – signed a state budget in 2013 that made Planned Parenthood last in line for any Title X funding.
In the wake of the undercover investigative videos of Planned Parenthood, Jacque has introduced a third bill that would prohibit the sale and use of aborted children’s body parts and require the reporting of the aborted babies’ genders. The measure would also require the establishment of standards for the disposition of the aborted babies’ remains.
When asked about Jacque’s legislation, Laurel Patrick, Walker’s press secretary, sent the following statement to Breitbart News:
Governor Walker finds the recently released videos of Planned Parenthood disturbing and abhorrent, and he will work with members of the State Legislature to pass legislation to ban these practices in Wisconsin and address concerns about this organization. While Governor Walker already defunded Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, he supports additional changes to Wisconsin law to restrict federal funds that flow to Planned Parenthood as well.
“The bills that my colleagues and I are putting forward are clearly sensible fiscal policy for Wisconsin, and long overdue steps that we need to take as soon as possible to protect state taxpayers,” Jacque tells Breitbart News. “I appreciate Gov. Walker’s past support of efforts to defund Planned Parenthood through Title V and the Well Woman Program. This is a necessary continuation of those efforts, and I am hopeful that Gov. Walker will call for all three pro-life bills that I am circulating to get to his desk as soon as possible.”