Editor's note: Assistant Minority Leader Donna Seidel (D-Wausau) last week offered the fourth Democratic Weekly Radio Address. The topic for this week’s address is Gov. Scott Walker's attack on women's health.
You can also find last week's radio address from Walker .
Hello. I’m Donna Seidel. I represent the 85th District, the Wausau area and I am the assistant Democratic deader.
Last session, I was proud of advances we made to help Wisconsin women access comprehensive, affordable health care. We made sure they could get birth control without discrimination and have insurance companies pay for it. We expanded coverage to men through the state’s Medicaid Family Planning Program and approved funding for cervical cancer screenings and treatments. By passing the Healthy Youth Act, we made sure that children were taught medically accurate, age-appropriate sex-education.
These accomplishments built on our proud tradition of Wisconsin standing up for women’s health care. For three decades, these health care programs have consistently received bipartisan support.
Sadly this year, Gov. (Scott) Walker and Republican legislators have pursued an extreme agenda that has stripped away access to health care. Their agenda has been especially devastating for families who are struggling in a tough, uncertain economic time.
Governor Walker and the Republican Legislature have proposed cuts totaling $550 million from our most vulnerable by dropping coverage, reducing benefits and raising out-of-pocket costs. They eliminated $2 million in family planning grants. This is money that can only be used for such noncontroversial services as cancer screenings and annual health exams. They discontinued funding for family planning services for men.
We do not believe these attacks and restrictions on women’s health fit with what Wisconsin values. So this week, Assembly Democrats proclaimed October as Women’s Health Month. We also announced legislation to restore health care access for families and we let people know that women’s health care is a priority.
One bill we unveiled would restore the funding for Wisconsin’s successful family planning program. Supporting women’s health care is not only the right thing to do – it is the frugal thing to do. For every $1 spent on family-planning services, the state saves $4. Another bill would restore health-care access for low-income families.
Republicans say they want to work together in a bipartisan fashion. These bills promoting women’s health are a perfect opportunity for them to make their actions match their words.
Unfortunately, there are Republicans who want to move us even further backward. Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin leads the nation in cuts to education among states that keep statistics.
And now his fellow Republicans want to dictate the education curriculum by repealing the Healthy Youth Act. We passed this law last year to address the serious problems of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
The continued Republican assault on health care for middle-class Wisconsin families must end. Democrats are focused on creating family-supporting jobs and helping grow our economy. But we cannot and will not stay silent while the governor and the Republican legislators attack education and health care for women and our families.
We will keep fighting to make sure women and their families get the care they need and deserve. Because when women and families are healthy, Wisconsin is healthy.