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Wisconsin Democratic Lawmakers Urge Congress To Keep Planned Parenthood Funding

Three State Representatives Held A News Conference Thursday In Appleton

Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

Supporters and patients of Planned Parenthood are asking House Speaker Paul Ryan and other lawmakers not to defund it.

Three state representatives rallied Thursday in Appleton to appeal to Ryan, R-Janesville, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson to protect the clinics’ funding.

Democrats Amanda Stuck, Gordon Hintz and Eric Genrich say thousands of women will lose healthcare if Planned Parenthood loses federal money. The group has 60,000 patients in Wisconsin, 50,000 of them qualify for Medicaid.

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Planned Parenthood bills under Medicaid for its services.

Nicole Safar, Planned Parenthood’s government relations director in Wisconsin, said, “according to Speaker Ryan what’s going to happen in Congress next week when Republicans introduce language repealing the (Affordable Care Act) it will include language that prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid program.”

State Rep. Genrich, of Green Bay, said Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings and other women’s health services, and he hopes the state’s Republicans in Congress will vote to keep the funding.

“We’re just hoping they put politics aside in this instance and listen to those who are standing up and saying, ‘Keep your hands off my health care. Represent me,’” he said.

The appeal is likely a long shot. On Tuesday all of Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. representatives voted to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. It’s a long standing rule that no federal money can be used to pay for abortions.

Planned Parenthood performs abortions but no federal money can be used on them.

A long time abortion opponent says that doesn’t matter. Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, said there are 19 Planned Parenthood clinics in the state and 120 federally qualified clinics.

Appling added they could pick up patients if Planned Parenthood can’t, “if they had access to the Title 10 money for instance that Planned Parenthood has had a monopoly on for all these years — it’s over 30 years, that they’ve gotten that money in the state — those clinics could provide that health care.”

Planned Parenthood supporters say those clinics aren’t equipped to handle so many patients.