Research Brief by Rachel L. DyerFile: Gender-Affirming-Hormone-Therapy-Research-Brief_rev-041422.pdf
NEW CORE BRIEF: What would happen if reproductive healthcare providers were unable to participate in the Wisconsin Medicaid program?
Members of the Wisconsin state legislature recently passed new legislation that would prohibit healthcare organizations that perform abortions from being certified under the state’s Medical Assistance program. This prohibition would mean that these clinics could not be reimbursed for other healthcare services provided to Wisconsinites as part of the state’s Medicaid program. Evidence suggests that this policy would have a negative impact on thousands of residents.
The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk.
What is the policy?
Existing Wisconsin state law already prohibits the use of any state, local, or federal funding to cover abortion care services except in limited circumstances. The proposed bill would add a major new level of restriction: it would prevent any healthcare organization that performs abortions from participating in the Medicaid program altogether. Most centrally, this ban would impact family planning clinics that provide abortion care, preventing them from seeking reimbursement from the Medicaid program for any of the reproductive health services they provide, not only abortion. Such vital services include contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and breast and cervical cancer screening.
Implications for Wisconsin
Research indicates that if Wisconsin state law were to prohibit healthcare providers that perform abortions from participating in the state Medicaid program, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites would lose access to essential reproductive healthcare services.
CORE Brief: What would happen if reproductive healthcare providers were unable to participate in the Wisconsin Medicaid program?
We invite you to read and share the latest CORE Brief, “The New Texas Abortion Ban and Its Implications for Wisconsin.”
Why does Texas SB 8 matter to Wisconsin?
- A similar ban would essentially stop abortion in Wisconsin. The overwhelming majority of abortion patients in Wisconsin, upwards of 95% or more, obtain abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
- Wisconsin is already considered hostile to abortion, and a ban like Texas SB 8 would work in tandem with other restrictions to block abortion access. Even in cases in which Wisconsinites could recognize pregnancy early enough to terminate before six weeks, existing restrictions impede timely care. For example, Wisconsin Medicaid restrictions prohibit coverage of abortion services, and many people struggle to raise funds to cover the cost of the procedure on their own. Wisconsin law requires that people wait at least 24 hours between an initial intake appointment and a procedural appointment to obtain an abortion, but for many people coming back the next day is not possible— especially for those living far from a clinic and who face challenges with finances, taking time off work, or childcare. In the past decade, as the Wisconsin legislature has implemented an array of laws aimed at restricting abortion access, 40% of our state’s abortion clinics have closed, which has limited abortion access even more.
- State-level restrictions can be more powerful than federal policy, including in the case of Roe v. Wade’s overturn. The 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade established abortion’s pre-viability legality nationwide, regardless of existing state laws that had prohibited the procedure. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, these state laws would become enforceable, including in Wisconsin. While some states have passed protective laws to keep abortion legal regardless of Roe’s status, Wisconsin would revert to a state law that makes provision of abortion a felony.
- Being denied an abortion has serious consequences for Wisconsinites. National studies, including those with Wisconsin patients, have found significant negative outcomes among people unable to obtain desired abortion services. Researchers have found that people who are turned away from desired abortion services and who go on to give birth are more likely to stay in abusive relationships, less likely to achieve aspirational life goals, less likely to complete postsecondary education, and more likely to experience persistent adverse economic consequences compared to those who receive their desired abortion. We also know that abortion restrictions contribute to increased maternal mortality among Black people and other marginalized communities. Further abortion restrictions in Wisconsin would reduce not only reproductive autonomy but also pregnant people’s physical health, mental health, and ability to reach their life goals.
Especially when combined with current restrictions, an abortion ban in Wisconsin like Texas SB 8 would make abortion access impossible for the majority of Wisconsinites in need of abortion services. Denial of abortion services leads to social, economic, and health consequences for pregnant people. These bans undermine reproductive autonomy, especially for people who are already marginalized in our communities and by the healthcare system.
Read the full brief here. We encourage you to share it widely.