Wisconsin pastor accuses Walker of ‘abortion distortion’

Baby 2

By Bob Eschliman


In immediate response to the Center for Medical Progress’ first Planned Parenthood video, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quickly and as an apparent matter-of-fact, stated that he had already defunded Planned Parenthood in his state.

Topic A Logo“We defunded Planned Parenthood, which is particularly important these days in light of what we’ve seen on video,” Walker said during a campaign stop at Joey’s Diner in Amherst, NH. It is a claim he has frequently repeated as the next six CMP videos have been released, allowing him to cement his conservative and Christian credentials.

But now a leading Badger State anti-abortion activist begs to differ.

“Like many pro-life taxpayers and voters, I am tired of hearing Governor Walker state that he has ‘defunded Planned Parenthood’ when state records show otherwise.” pastor Matt Trewhella, leader of the Milwaukee-based Missionaries to the Preborn, said. “Cutting the funding of Planned Parenthood by 5 percent and then claiming you have ‘defunded’ them is rank hypocrisy and Newspeak. We demand that Governor Walker actually zero out Planned Parenthood’s funding, and even more so, uphold the laws of Wisconsin so that preborn children are protected from a brutal death.”

The pastor also says that since 2013, Planned Parenthood has received a minimum of $39 million from Wisconsin taxpayers. Last year, he noted, 6,462 abortions were performed in the state. As is the case in Iowa, Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the Badger State. Many of those abortions, according to state officials, were paid through Medicaid with funding from federal block grants.

Scott Walker Recall the RecallIn response to questions about Trewhella’s comments, the Walker campaign directed The Iowa Statesman to speak with Heather Weininger, Executive Director at Wisconsin Right to Life, about the issue. In an interview today, Weininger said direct funding to Planned Parenthood was removed from the budget, but acknowledged the organization still receives taxpayer money through the Medicaid block grants — as is the case in Iowa.

In the 2011-13 Wisconsin budget, approximately $1 million previously appropriated almost entirely to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin was redirected to the Wisconsin Women’s Health Block Grant. That money was restricted to be used only for specific services like pregnancy testing, perinatal care, cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted infection care, and general health screenings, and it could not be given to organizations that:

• provides abortion services,

• makes referrals for abortion services, or

• has an affiliate that provides abortion services or makes referrals for abortion services.

The action resulted in Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin shuttering five of its 27 clinics in the state. However, it still left nearly 95 percent of Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer-funded support intact. As a result, earlier this month, Politicfact, a left-leaning “fact checking” website, gave former Secretary of State a “half true” rating on claims that Walker “left women across the state stranded with nowhere else to turn” for cancer screenings, breast exams and birth control.

In an interview with Breitbart News several weeks ago, State Rep. Andre Jacque said, “more work needs to be done to completely defund Planned Parenthood” and announced his plans to craft legislation to deal with the Medicaid funding. That is a sentiment Weininger repeated.

“That is something the Legislature has said it will address when it returns in September,” she said. “So, there’s still work to be done to defund Planned Parenthood, but the Legislature is already working on it.”

Still, Walker continues to make the claim that he defunded Planned Parenthood. It’s a claim that most Iowa Caucus voters, those who identify as conservatives or pro-life Christians, are not likely going to buy in light of these new revelations. A recent survey of likely Iowa Caucus attendees who identify as conservative, most of whom identify as pro-life Christians, found that not single one considered a 5-percent reduction in Planned Parenthood’s funding qualified as “defunding” the organization.

Both Jaque and Weininger said they believed Walker to be pro-life and supportive of efforts to end abortion in Wisconsin. However, Trewhella said it would do Walker better as a candidate if he stopped taking pro-life voters for granted.

“Considering approximately 27,100 babies have been murdered in Wisconsin since Governor Walker took office in 2010, it would be a tremendous mistake on his part to take the pro-life vote for granted,” he said.