.- The Wisconsin Legislatureâs Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote today on Gov. Jim Doyleâs proposal to expand a confidential âfamily planningâ program to boys aged 15 to 17. Critics charged that the proposal further encourages teens to go behind their parentsâ backs and neglects their moral development.
At present, Wisconsinâs Medicaid Family Planning Waiver Program provides taxpayer-funded birth control without charge to teen girls in the same age range without their parentsâ knowledge or consent. Federal and state law prohibits parents from being notified that their minor daughters are receiving free contraceptives under the program, a press release from Pro-Life Wisconsin reports.
âProviding free, taxpayer-funded birth control to 15-year-old boys and girls behind parentsâ backs is horrible public policy, and we urge the finance committee to block expansion of this offensive program,â commented Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsinâs director of legislation. âParents are naturally concerned about the sexual health of their teen children, not only to protect them physically but to guide them morally.â
Sande argued the state should reinforce the parent-child relationship.
âWho do we want to be the confidants of our sons and daughters â parents, or Planned Parenthood? That is the question parents in this state should be asking themselves, including parents on the committee,â he continued.
At present the Medicaid program provides family planning services and supplies for women aged 15 to 44 who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. While women applying for the program are considered presumptively eligible for services and exempted from co-payments, family income is disregarded for women under 19 who are unmarried and childless.
âTherefore almost every teen girl in the state is financially eligible,â Pro-Life Wisconsin said.
Gov. Doyleâs proposal expands the program to men aged 15 to 44.
âNot only is the Family Planning Waiver Program offensive to parents, but it contributes to an increase in underage pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted diseases by encouraging sexual promiscuity,â Sande remarked. âEvery day, 8,000 teens become infected with an STD. Itâs time the state reexamines the so-called benefits of âfamily planningâ for Wisconsinâs children.â
Eight states prevent minor girls from enrolling in family planning waiver programs by limiting the programs to women who are at least 19 years of age. Three states limit their programs to women who are at least 18 years of age.