Evers proposes $28 million for women's health and infant care

By Sarah McGrew

WAUSAU (WAOW) — Governor Tony Evers is proposing $28 million for women’s health and infant care as part of his first budget. The proposal includes reinstating state funding to Planned Parenthood.

The Governor said the proposal isn’t a republican or democratic issue, but it’s already drawing a hard line between parties and activist groups.

Julaine Appling, the President of Wisconsin Family Action, is worried the funding will increase the number of women getting abortions across the state.

“It is reverting to previous practices that are not in the best interest of our state and certainly not, in my opinion, in the best interest of women, their health, their well-being and their unborn children,” Appling said.

But a representative from Planned Parenthood said none of the funding will go toward abortions, but will be used for preventative health care.

“It makes sure that patients can get the preventative care that they need through Planned Parenthood,” said Mel Barnes, the Legal and Policy Director with Planned Parenthood Wisconsin. “Things like birth control, STD tests, well women visits, cancer screenings. These are all things we should be able to agree about.”

The proposal also includes creating an infant mortality prevention program. The Wisconsin infant mortality rate is 5.92 per 1,000 live births, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Additionally, the governor’s proposal will increase funding for the minority health grant program, which works to address health disparities across the state.

Local democratic representative Katrina Shankland said she was happy to hear the governor’s proposal, and even thinks it will save tax payers money in the long run.

“The better health outcomes we have on the front end, the more money we save down the road,” Shankland said. “I think that’s something democrats and republicans can support.”

Governor Evers is set to introduce his full budget on February 28th.