Eighty facilities in Wisconsin have names, locations, and exteriors designed to look like women’s clinics, often providing free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. Yet, most employ no medical professionals and give spurious, inaccurate and misleading information. These Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), or fake clinics, lie to, deceive, and shame women, in order to dissuade them from accessing abortion services.
A recent investigation revealed that Governor Walker spent nearly $4,000 in taxpayer dollars on a private flight to support the opening of one of these fake clinics. CPCs are usually located near hospitals, medical facilities and health centers that provide abortions. Some of their common deceptions include:
- Falsely advertising to offer abortion services;
- Providing untrue information about the risks of abortion and contraception;
- Giving misinformation about one’s pregnancy, including lying about the gestational age to imply one’s pregnancy is beyond the window for an abortion;
- Wrongly suggesting that the likelihood of miscarriage is so great that there is no need to schedule an abortion.
As Walker flies on our dime to visit fake clinics, he’s championed efforts making actual health care out of reach for thousands of Wisconsin women. One of his first actions in office was to denying critical funding to real women’s health centers that provided birth control, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Walker’s actions resulted in the closure of five women’s health centers, some in rural areas of our state, and a greater gap in health care.
His administration has “restructured” the Wisconsin Well Women’s program to make it more difficult for uninsured and underinsured women to access breast cancer screening and treatment.
And when it comes to reproductive health care accessibility, no governor in Wisconsin history has been worse than Governor Walker, who has done everything in his power to make it more difficult for women and health care providers. He has interfered with the physician-patient relationship by requiring that patients are given a biased lecture and materials in state mandated “counseling.” He supported requiring a mandatory ultrasound patients may not need or want. Walker has also signed several bills restricting abortion coverage, even in the most tragic circumstances.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, care should be timely, reduce delays, and be provided according to medical need and the patient’s best interests. Walker’s approach has been the opposite.
Regardless of one’s political ideology, most Wisconsinites believe that patients deserve medically accurate information and the ability to make informed choices about their own health. When Governor Walker flies around supporting fake clinics while making actual health care inaccessible, he is sending a message that women’s health is not about health care, but his political agenda to take away our most private decisions. Walker is demonstrating how grossly out of touch he is with real people’s lives, who need him to investment in affordable, accessible health care devoid of a political agenda. Instead, Walker flippantly wastes taxpayer money. As usual, Governor Walker’s priorities aren’t about the people, but about his own political ambitions.
Lindsay Lemmer, President of the Wisconsin Chapter of NOW, Reps. Chris Taylor, Terese Berceau, Melissa Sargent, Amanda Stuck, Lisa Subeck & JoCasta Zamarripa, Women’s March Wisconsin and NARAL Pro-Choice America