Evers rejects calls from Republicans to fund crisis pregnancy centers

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers gave a firm “no” to calls from Republicans to allocate $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for crisis pregnancy centers.

“What it would go to has nothing to do with health care,” Evers said. “There are no doctors, there are no nurses in those facilities — they are not there to treat people.”

This comes after 38 Assembly Republicans sent Evers a letter this week asking him to disburse the federal funds, saying that those centers are key to helping women navigate pregnancies.

“With what happened at the Supreme Court last week, I think it’s important — there’ll be more services needed here by women around our state,” said Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton. As a senator, he did not sign on to the letter, but he has been a vocal pro-life supporter.

“I think that the state has an obligation to step in, make sure that [crisis pregnancy centers] they’re adequately funded,” he said.

Health care advocates disagree, though. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin vice president for external affairs Mike Murray said traditional health care clinics like Planned Parenthood provide much broader services than crisis pregnancy centers.

“Not every crisis pregnancy center is the same, but most of them provide only a very, very limited spectrum of potential like diagnostic care,” he said. “We provide individuals with well-person screenings to make sure that they are able to able to access life-saving cancer screenings, able to receive testing and treatment for STIs.”

With the Supreme Court decision, much of the focus is on abortions, but Murray said there is more that they provide.

“If there’s care… that an individual needs that we’re not able to provide at Planned Parenthood Wisconsin, we make sure that we are providing either a referral for that individual to access the care that they need elsewhere,” he said.

“That might mean that they may want to access prenatal care, and they… might want to have had a referral to OB/GYN or another primary physician that would provide them with prenatal care and support throughout their entire pregnancy,” he added.

This could certainly all change if Evers loses reelection to a Republican candidate. Murray said funds would be better spent on policies that Evers has pushed for in the past, like expanding Medicaid.

Republicans have traditionally rejected that in the past, and for his part, Roth said he wanted to see the funds make the most impact — to be used by crisis pregnancy centers that are on the ground.