Press Release from WAWH:
Madison, WI - As an organization that advocates for the health, safety, and economic security of women and families in our state, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WAWH) is horrified by the Trump’s budget proposal that would deny health care, food and other essential supports to struggling households with children, most of which are headed by women.
“This budget adds insult to injury for already underfunded programs that critically impact women’s health and financial security and it is a blatant assault against working families by the Trump administration,” said Sara Finger, WAWH Executive Director. “Trump’s proposal would shred safety net programs, defund Planned Parenthood and will cause deep, lasting harm to Wisconsin women and their families.”
This historically harsh proposal includes an additional $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid on top of the already proposed $880 billion in cuts from the American Health Care Act, culminating in a proposed reduction of 47% to Medicaid over 10 years. These cuts would be devastating to women’s health and are unprecedented in modern politics.
Because women bear a disproportionate share of family caretaking responsibilities, they are exceptionally impacted by these proposed cuts to programs that effect children. Several safety net programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, and income support are relied upon by mothers to keep children healthy. The budget includes a $191 billion dollar cut to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which is a last resort for families to not starve because of poverty. The cutting of these programs will affect families, but to an even greater extent, will hinder the ability of single mothers to keep themselves and their children healthy.
In addition to cutting safety net programs that countless women rely on, it also launches an attack against the reproductive rights of women. For the first time in history, the Trump budget would bar Planned Parenthood from participating in any U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program. In addition to defunding Planned Parenthood health centers from the Medicaid program, denying millions access to essential health care, these health centers would be excluded from a range of programs including Zika and cancer prevention and from Title X, the nation’s family planning program.
While the Trump budget proposal has not been enacted, and needs to be passed by both houses of Congress in order to become law, the proposal lays out the Trump administration’s dangerous priorities for our country. WAWH calls on all women’s health supporters to speak out to their national leaders to warn of the devastating impacts this budget will have on women and girls.
Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health (WAWH) Executive Director, Sara Finger, released the following statement regarding today's ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Peterson that found 1997 Wisconsin Act 292, sometimes referred to as the "Cocaine Mom Law," unconstitutional:
"WAWH is excited and relieved by today's decision to strike down this punitive law that permits the state to deprive pregnant women of basic rights and take action that is known to undermine maternal, fetal, and child health.
We are especially proud of the brave plaintiff in this case, Tammy Loertscher, who was willing to relive the trauma she endured as a result of this law in order to challenge its constitutionality. As a result of admitting to drug use before she was pregnant, Ms. Loertscher was denied her most basic constitutional rights and was incarcerated in a local jail for 18 days, which included time in solitary confinement. While in the jail she did not even have access to prenatal care or medication she needed to treat a thyroid condition.
This punitive approach to potential maternal drug use is almost uniformly opposed by the established medical community. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and American Public Health Association all filed an amicus brief opposing the law. A link to the WI ACOG statement can be found here.
WAWH hopes that Judge Peterson's ruling is upheld so that no other Wisconsin women must endure what Ms. Loertscher, along with hundreds of other women in the state since the law's enactment, have experienced under this ill-conceived law. WAWH would also like to thank attorneys from National Advocates for Pregnant Women and the law firm Perkins Coie for their invaluable work on this case."
Sara Finger, Executive Director