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Updated: Planned Parenthood to close 4 Wisconsin centers

6:10 PM, Feb. 18, 2013  |  Comments
Teri Huyck, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
Teri Huyck, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
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Planned Parenthood announced plans today to close four of its 27 clinics in Wisconsin due to a lack of state funding.

Clinics in Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls and Shawano will close between April and July, Planned Parenthood leaders said. The closures are the direct consequence of the Legislature eliminating $1 million in state funding for the group in the last budget, said Teri Huyck, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

That money was earmarked for women's health care services Planned Parenthood offered in nine counties. None of the clinics being closed offered abortions. State law prohibits state money from being used to pay for abortions, unless medically necessary.

Without the state money, the clinics could not afford to stay open, Huyck said.

Each of the four clinics had been open for years. The Beaver Dam site, which opened in 1977, was the oldest and the one in Johnson Creek, which opened in 1999, is the newest.

Planned Parenthood said the closures will affect services such as cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and HIV screening provided to 2,000 patients.

"The closing of these four clinics isn't a 'win' for the pro-life community," said Democratic state Rep. Chris Taylor of Madison, a former Planned Parenthood employee. "It's a loss to women who relied on those clinics for lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, safe family planning services and other health care needs. As a result, there will be women whose health and lives are threatened."

Wisconsin Right to Life's executive director Barbara Lyons said it was "excellent news" the clinics were closing. Even though abortions aren't performed at the four clinics that are closing, women who go there receive referrals to other clinics where they can get abortions, so making it more difficult for that to happen is a good thing, Lyons said.

"It is a good outcome for women and children that the four abortion clinic feeders are closing," she said.

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