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State budget expands family planning services to men

Wisconsin's health insurance companies will have to pay for contraceptives under the new state budget.

And family planning services like birth control and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases will be given to men as well as women in state health programs.

Also, the budget makes Wisconsin pharmacies always have someone available to dispense contraceptives. But Karla Ashenhurst of Ministry Health Care says it's still not clear if pharmacies must stock contraceptives.

And her group, which includes religious hospitals, says it will wait for more guidance.

Many teenage boys will now be eligible for birth control under a state and federal program that provides contraceptives and reproductive care to low-income people as young as 15.

Julaine Appling of the Wisconsin Family Action group calls it an "abrogation of parental rights."

But Rea Holmes of the state's health services agency said it would result in fewer pregnancies and less kids with sexually-transmitted diseases.

Matt Sande of Pro-Life Wisconsin said lawmakers and the governor acted on "weighty social issues," and they should not have been "rammed through in the dark of night."

But Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, said the issues have been debated before at the Capitol, and it's essential that all women have a full range of medical care.