Dane County executive Joe Parisi says that the goal is to expand the service by fall:
“I will ask the Dane County board to immediately allocate $360,000 from the county’s general reserve fund to jumpstart the expansion of public health staffing, service hours, and additional services for additional women throughout Dane county, including the addition of long-acting reversible contraception to provide long-term pregnancy prevention. Once approved, these dollars will allow public health to immediately begin the process of hiring additional staff and making other arrangements to arrange services in the next few months,” said Parisi.
Madison and Dane County will allocate more funding in future years for reproductive health services, at an estimated cost of $1 million dollars per year.
With that funding comes more comprehensive staffing, hours, outreach, and services.
Notably, the clinic will begin offering IUDs, contraception that can last between five to ten years.
Here’s Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison and Dane County:
“With a single appointment we will be able to provide a safe, effective, and convenient method of reversible contraception that can be used for a long period of time,” said Henrich.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway described the request for additional funds as a response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade in June, which effectively ended the right to choose in Wisconsin. She underlined the importance of access to safe, legal abortion healthcare in undoing health disparities:
“The Supreme Court’s decision and the Wisconsin Legislature’s failure to act to restore reproductive rights in Wisconsin will create adverse healthcare outcomes for many, and will disproportionately impact BIPOC women in Madison and Dane County. We already see racial disparities in access to care and maternal and child health outcomes in our community, and these decisions will make those disparities worse. This expansion of public health services in our community will improve health outcomes,” said Conway.
Conway noted that similar programs have produced positive outcomes in other states. In Colorado, counties that made it easier to access IUDs saw a 24% decline in high-risk births.
A budget amendment needed to add additional funds to the clinic will need to be approved by two-thirds of the full county board.
Abortion remains illegal in Wisconsin due to an 1858 law criminalizing abortion at any stage in one’s pregnancy. As a result of the ruling, Planned Parenthood stopped offering abortion healthcare in Wisconsin last month.
However, at a virtual press conference earlier today, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Planned Parenthood of Illinois announced a new partnership. Now, patients from Wisconsin will be able to receive care at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Waukegan, Illinois — about ten miles south of the state border and about an hour’s drive from Milwaukee.
Jennifer Welch is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. She described how the partnership will work moving forward:
“We wish Wisconsin patients didn’t have to travel for care. Fortunately, trained medical professionals from Wisconsin are providing the care patients need, and Illinois has the space to accommodate the increase in staff and patients. So while Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is temporarily suspending abortion care, Wisconsin patients have access to abortion in Illinois,” said Welch.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, a group of Dane County doctors announced a plan to open two clinics in Rockford, Illinois. One clinic, which is aimed at offering pill abortion services, is scheduled to open as soon as tomorrow. Another clinic, which will offer surgical abortion care, is slated to open in three to six months.
To learn more about reproductive and sexual health resources available in Dane County and Wisconsin, please visit PHMDC’s page on sexual health. For more on accessing Planned Parenthood’s services in Wisconsin, please visit https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-wisconsin.