Testimony in Support of Assembly Bill 57 Assembly Committee on Public Benefits Reform Public Hearing, April 11, 2017
Julaine Appling President, Wisconsin Family Action
Thank you, Chairman Krug and committee members, for the opportunity to submit in writing the testimony I gave today before the committee in support of Assembly Bill 57.
Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) believes the very best environment for children is to live with their married mother and father. Unfortunately, that gold standard is not reality for very child. In situations where the child’s best interest has already been sacrificed too often on the altar of adult desires through divorce or unwed child birth, we believe it is mportant that children be as closely tied to their biological parents as possible, assuming parental rights have not been terminated for good reason.
Further, Wisconsin Family Action believes our citizens are much better off, and as a result, our entire state is much better off when our citizens are independent of government. Public benefit programs can, if not managed very carefully,, keep people from becoming independent, but rather contributing to keeping people in poverty by not requiring some measure of personal responsibility..To this point, Governor Walker has said recently he believes public benefits should be a trampoline, not a hammock.
Wisconsin Family Action believes Assembly Bill 57, authored by Rep. Sanfelippo and Sen. Kapenga, helps with both of what I just laid out. It is a bill about acknowledging and accepting responsibility as a parent of a child in at least two ways: paternity and related child support. The idea behind the bill is that custodial or non-custodial parents who wish to receive FoodShare benefits need to cooperate in determining paternity, establishing or enforcing a child support order, and being no more than 3 months in arrears on child support. These requirements are reasonable and are about the best interest of the child.
The fastest way for a woman or a child to experience poverty is for them to be involved in a divorce or unwed childbirth. Some of this poverty experience can be alleviated if the biological father of the child is known and then held accountable for, at a minimum, contributing to the financial needs of the child through child support. Public benefits should not “reward” bad behavior, particularly when minor children are involved. (While the preceding focuses on non-custodial fathers, the reality is a woman, whether custodial or non-custodial, guilty of obstructing a support order or being delinquent in child support, would also be denied FoodShares under this bill.)
WFA does not see AB 57 as punitive but rather as an appropriate push towards parental responsibility by a reasonable withholding of a public benefit. Public benefits doled out without requirements become hammocks rather than trampolines.
Thank you for your careful consideration of this bill. Wisconsin Family Action urges the committee to pass AB 57 and move it to the full Assembly for a floor vote.
Publications I referred to in my remarks and responses to questions are available online.
Wisconsin Family Council’s Wisconsin’s Cultural Indicators, 2014 Edition
The Family Prosperity Index (2017 edition)
Wisconsin Family Prosperity Report (2016)
View document HERE.
This month State Senator Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and State Representative Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) sent a memo to their legislative colleagues inviting them to join them as co-sponsors of the bill package known as the Heal Without Harm Initiative. This initiative is comprised of two bills.
- One bill bans the trade and use of the body parts of aborted babies and requires that they be given an appropriate final disposition.
- The second bill requires” facilities where a woman could experience a tragic miscarriage or stillbirth to inform women that they can voluntarily donate their child for research. The bill also provides that facilities where a woman miscarries or delivers a stillborn baby arrange for the proper disposition of the baby.
The bills are strongly supported by the Heal Without Harm Coalition, comprised of the state’s main pro-life groups: Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Right to Life, Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Catholic Conference.
“Many pro-life Wisconsin citizens were very upset that a similar bill did not pass last session. These bills are even better than that bill. The package is all about recognizing the dignity and humanity of aborted, stillborn or miscarried babies,” said WFA president Julaine Appling..
For more details on the Heal Without Harm Initiative and this issue in general, click “CONTINUE READING” below.
CLICK HERE to find our your state senator and state representative are and their phone number. Simply type your street address in the space under “Find My Legislators” and hit “enter.”
A few weeks ago 2 Republicans, Sen. Alberta Darling (River Hills) and Rep. Cindi Duchow (Waukesha) introduced a bill that they claim stops the sale and use of the body parts of aborted babies. None of the state’s pro-life groups were consulted on the bill. Heal Without Harm Coalition analyzed the bill and found it pretty severely lacking. Parts of the bill are confusing, and it also has significant exceptions that would basically allow the UW to continue doing research using the body parts and tissue of aborted babies. All four main pro-life groups have registered as opposing this bill.
Two bills have recently been introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature to provide a path forward for biomedical research that honors the dignity of the human beings that it is meant to serve. These are the Fetal Remains Respect Act and the Unborn Child Disposition and Anatomical Gift Act, part of the Heal Without Harm Legislative Initiative. Contrary to what some claim, these bills do not stifle research. As scientists, we wholeheartedly support this initiative to support and advocate for biomedical research that benefits all human persons, without sacrificing one for another.
READ MORE HERE
Wisconsin Family Action is a proud member of the Heal Without Harm Ethical Research Coalition (HWH), comprised of Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin. The HWH Coalition supports ending the trade and use of abortion-derived baby body parts, while also promoting ethical alternatives in research.
The HWH Coalition has serious concerns about recently circulated state legislation because it would continue to permit trafficking and use of children whose lives were taken by abortion. This perpetuates the exploitation of the unborn. The Coalition urges state legislators to refrain from supporting this flawed proposal.
To learn more about our efforts and recent developments in legislation, CLICK HERE.
Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature are circulating a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
The proposal by state Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor comes after Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he would be open to the idea. Republicans have typically been against any attempts to legalize marijuana.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he is against medical marijuana. And Gov. Scott Walker also says he opposes it.
WI House Speaker Robin Vos
Read more HERE.
WFA president Julaine Appling says, “I’m not sure why Republican Speaker Robin Vos is open to the idea. Most Republicans oppose this idea and the slippery slope it creates. While some claim this is an important medical treatment, many others point out the legal issues for doctors, remind us of the addictive nature of marijuana and point out other treatments exist that don’t involve this addictive narcotic.”
NEW PRO-LIFE LICENSE PLATE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN 2017
A Choose Life Wisconsin license plate is becoming a reality. The red, white and black plate features an ink print of a baby’s foot and the words Choose Life. The effort began years ago as a cooperative project of Wisconsin Family Action and Pro-Life Wisconsin. $25 from the sale of each plate will go to Choose Life Wisconsin, an independent not-for-profit corporation. Choose Life Wisconsin will then distribute those funds to various Wisconsin Pregnancy Resource Centers. Over $23 million has been raised nationally from the sale of Choose Life plates in various states.
>>>>>Read the full PRESS RELEASE HERE.
On Tuesday, 9/22, the Senate Committee on Human Health and Service held a public hearing on Senate Bill 260 (companion AB 305 – bans the sale and use of the body parts and tissues of aborted babies) Senate Bill 237 (companion AB 310 – redirects about $7.5 million annually of taxpayer money away from Planned Parenthood of WI), and Senate Bill 238 (companion AB 311 – bans family-planning centers from overbilling the state for drugs they dispense). WFA attended the hearing and testified in favor of the bills along former Iowa Planned Parenthood manager Sue Thayer and Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Natalie Decker who specializes in exposing Planned Parenthood’s fraud and abuse. (more…)
On Tuesday, 9/22, the Senate Committee on Human Health and Service held a public hearing on Senate Bill 260 (bans the sale and use of the body parts and tissues of aborted babies) Senate Bill 237 (redirects about $7.5 million annually of taxpayer money away from Planned Parenthood of WI), and Senate Bill 238 (bans family-planning centers from overbilling the state for drugs they dispense). WFA president Julaine Appling attended the hearing and testified in favor of the bills.
Read the testimonies here:
Testimony on SB 260, click HERE “Aborted babies are not commodities to be transferred on the open market, even for scientific purposes.”
Testimony on SB 237, click HERE “I have included with my testimony a map with the current locations of the eighteen service sites (nine of which are Planned Parenthood clinics) that currently receive the Title X funding, as appropriate by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.”
Testimony on SB 238, click HERE “While family planning clinics may not have been trying to purposely defraud state taxpayers, their questionable billing practices are in fact a misuse of Medicaid funds in Wisconsin.”
READ FULL PRESS RELEASE HERE.
To Members of the Wisconsin State Legislature:
We urge the passage of AB 305/SB 260 to uphold the integrity of medical research, which is intended to heal without harm, for the following reasons:
Ethical, effective alternatives to abortion-derived fetal tissue exist and more will be discovered if researchers strive to heal without harm. The dependence of fetal tissue research on the abortion industry helps to legitimize abortion and further embed it in our educational and medical institutions.
An aborted unborn child did not consent to his or her destruction. Full respect for our aborted brothers and sisters demands that they receive a proper burial, not dissection and experimentation.
Human beings must never be treated as a means to an end, however noble.
Wisconsin has an extraordinary opportunity with AB 305/SB 260 to lead the nation by championing research that is ethical, innovative, and effective. Such a commitment to heal without harm would truly uphold our state’s proud tradition of social justice and respect for human life.
Respectfully, Heal Without Harm Coalition Media Contacts:
Pro-Life Wisconsin – Matt Sande – [email protected], 262-352-0890
Wisconsin Catholic Conference – Barbara Sella – [email protected], 608-257-0004
Wisconsin Family Action – Julaine Appling – [email protected], 608-334-6435
Wisconsin Right to Life – Heather Weininger – [email protected], 414-778-5780
PLEASE TAKE ACTION AND THEN SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH OTHERS!
You can make an incredible difference for life in Wisconsin with just 3 phone calls!
Please call the following Republican leaders in the state Assembly right away:
Speaker Robin Vos (608) 266-9171 or (888) 534-0063
Majority Leader Jim Steineke (608) 266-2418 or (888) 534-0005
Joint Finance Co-Chair John Nygren (608) 266-2343 or (888) 534-0089 (more…)
PLAN TO ATTEND AND SPEAK AND/OR REGISTER IN FAVOR OF THESE PRO-LIFE BILLS!
CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR TODAY AND ASK HIM/HER TO SUPPORT THESE BILLS, TOO! (more…)
On Wednesday, 9/9, the Assembly Health Committee voted to pass Assembly Bill 305, a bill that prohibits the use and sale of baby body parts and provides a criminal penalty. Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) chaired the hearing.
Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) and Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) voted with committee Democrats against the bill.
“We are very pleased that this critical bill passed in the committee., states Julaine Appling, WFA president, “Representative Joel Kleefisch, who is also a co-author of the bill, did an excellent job in the chair. Like Rep. Kleefisch we are a bit surprised that 2 Republican legislators who claim they are pro-life did not fully support this proposal. We look forward to having this bill, without amendments that seriously compromise it, on the Assembly floor in the very near future.
The Wisconsin Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Health will meet in Executive Session at 10 a.m. in Room 225NW to vote on AB 305, a bill to ban the use or sale of aborted baby body parts.
You can watch the hearing LIVE on Wisconsin Eye by clicking HERE.
WFA president Julaine Appling states, “WFA has actively and aggressively supported this bill every time it has been introduced in the legislature, and we are excited to now see this bill through to enactment. We encourage legislative leadership and Governor Walker to move AB 305 forward with a vote and a signature in this fall’s legislative session.”
ACT NOW: State Legislature To Hold Public Hearing on Bills Defunding Planned Parenthood of WI
YOU can make a huge difference in these bills!
This Wednesday, September 2, the Assembly Health Committee will hold a public hearing in the State Capitol on two bills (AB 310 and AB 311–see below for more information) that that will further defund Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI), the state’s largest abortion provider.
PLEASE ACT NOW!
1. ATTEND – If at all possible, please ATTEND the Assembly Health Committee PUBLIC HEARING this Wednesday in Room 417 North of the State Capitol Building at 9:00 a.m. and register in support of AB 310 and AB 311. You can register in support of the bills but not speaking, or you can register in support and indicate you want to speak. Most important is that you register in SUPPORT of the bills.
2. CALL/E-MAIL – If you cannot attend the public hearing, please CALL or EMAIL your state representative and state senator NOW and urge him/her to DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF WISCONSIN – PASS AB 310 & AB 311!
Simply tell him/her that “Abortion is NOT health care, and taxpayer funding of abortion providers violates my conscience.”
To find out who your state representative or state senator is, click HERE. In the space under “Find My Legislators,” type in your street address, city and zip code and hit “Find.” A map will come up and a box will show you your state senator and state representative and their contact information.
3. FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO OTHERS & URGE THEM TO JOIN YOU!
Authored by Representative André Jacque (R-De Pere), Assembly Bill (AB) 310 and Assembly Bill (AB) 311 together will eliminate approximately $7.5 million of taxpayer public funding from PPWI.
Wisconsin Family Action (WFA) president Julaine Appling with attend the hearing and give testimony in favor of both bills. In cooperation with our national ally Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), WFA is hosting Casey Mattox and Sue Thayer. Mattox, senior counsel with ADF, is a national expert on Planned Parenthood’s fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. Thayer is a former manager of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland clinic in Iowa. Both Mattox and Thayer will testify at the hearing on Wednesday.
Assembly Bill 310 would redirect federal Title X family planning funds away from Planned Parenthood of WI to public entities including state, county, and local health departments and clinics. Currently, more than $3 million annually in Title X funds are granted directly to PPWI. There are 162 federally qualified Health Clinics and Rural Health Clinics in WI where the money can go to assist low-income women can receive reproductive-related health care.
Assembly Bill 311 would dramatically reduce PPWI’s Medicaid reimbursement rate for contraceptive drugs, reimbursing them at the actual cost they pay for these drugs, not the artificially inflated rate they and other family-planning clinics are currently receiving. Rep. Jacque estimates this will eliminate $4.5 million from PPWI.
In 2011, WFA joined with other pro-life organizations, especially Pro-Life Wisconsin, in defunding PPWI of $1 million annually by redirecting funds from the state budget to other non-abortion-performing or referring health programs/clinics. The net result? Planned Parenthood of WI has closed 5 of their facilities around the state!
Imagine what will happen when $7.5 million of your tax dollars is gone from PPWI!
YOU can make this a reality!
2014 | March 31
Wisconsin Family Action writes letter to Wisconsin State Senate regarding refusal to act on AB 206.
AB 206 Provides for “Choose Life” license plates.
2014 | March 6
SB619 provides a process for developing, adopting, and implementing State Model Academic Standards.
2014 | February 27
AB206/SB176 provides for “Choose Life” license plates.
2013 | October 3
Hearing on Common Core Standards before Select Committee for Review of the Common Core Standards Initiative
2013 | September 24
AB206/SB176 provides for “Choose Life” license plates.
2013 | August 20 – Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor
AB224 prohibits the sale and use of fetal body parts.
AB195/SB170 provides for tuition tax credit for private schools.
2013 | June 25
The same-sex domestic partnership registry that became law in the 2010-2011 state budget signed by Governor Doyle, creates a legal status for same-sex domestic partnerships that is substantially similar to that of marriage, in direct violation of the Wisconsin constitutional Marriage Protection Amendment, approved by voters in 2006 by nearly 60%.
Read FAQ for Domestic Partner Registry Legal Challenge
2013 | June 05 – Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
2013 | May 29 – Assembly Committee on Health
AB216/SB202 prohibits the group insurance board from contracting for or providing abortion services and exempting religious employers, religious organizations, and religious institutions of higher education from contraceptive insurance coverage.
2013 | May 29 – Assembly Committee on Health
AB217/SB201 prohibits sex-selective abortion.
2013 | May 29 – Assembly Committee on Health
2013 | May 23
- Read Memo urging legislators to co-sponsor Wisconsin’s Religious Freedom Amendment
- Read SJR38, State of Wisconsin Legislature, 2013-2014
2013 | February 20
Relating to: state finances and appropriations, constituting the executive budget act of the 2013 legislature.
- Read AB 40, State of Wisconsin Legislature, 2013-2014