The top official of the top abortion provider in the state of Wisconsin will continue to advise Governor-elect Tony Evers on “health care” despite a demands for her removal from a health care committee.
On Tuesday last week, Evers appointed Tanya Atkinson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, to his Health Care Advisory Council. The committee, according to parries release from Evers, “will help our transition team put together a comprehensive health care plan that takes steps to increase access to health care coverage, like taking the Medicaid expansion dollars, while bringing down costs.”
The twelve members of the council will advise on policy matters affecting the Department of Health Services, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, the Department of Employee Trust Funds, and “numerous state boards focused on health care,” according to the Evers press release announcing the appointment of Atkinson and the other members.
The appointment of Atkinson was strongly criticized in a statement by Sen. Dave Craig (R-Big Bend) on Thursday.
“Blink and you missed it, but Tony Evers just slipped a top abortion activist onto his transition team. The appointment of Planned Parenthood of WI’s CEO shows Evers’ promotion of the pro-abortion agenda and his commitment to making it a key part of his administration,” said Craig. “It’s disturbing to see that Evers is already surrounding himself with liberal, Madison special interests so out of step with the rest of the state.”
Craig warned that the appointment signals that Evers is likely to seek taxpayer funding for abortions despite public sentiment against government funding, according to a poll in 2016 by Politico.
“Planned Parenthood masquerades as a healthcare provider while funding their activities through taxpayer subsidies and the killing of pre-born babies. Now, thanks to Tony Evers, their activists will have a seat at the table directing state policy,” said Senator Craig. “This appointment sends Wisconsinites a message that they should not be surprised if Evers’ first budget includes abortion funding by taxpayers or repeal of measures protecting the unborn.”
Craig’s criticism of the appointment of Atkinson followed similar criticism from Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL). On Wednesday, Executive Director Heather Weininger called for Atkinson’s removal from the committee.
“It doesn’t take a medical degree to know that killing an unborn baby is not healthcare,” Weininger said. “I’m calling on Governor-elect Evers to immediately remove Tonya Atkinson from his Health Policy Advisory Council.”
Weininger also said the appointment reflects Evers’ casual attitude towards abortion.
“Evers made it very clear to us during his campaign how he felt about abortions, it’s just like a tonsillectomy,” Weininger said. “It’s clear that this is going to be a long four years of battling against one of the most pro-abortion governors we have had in years. Those of us who have worked for decades to protect life will be fighting at every turn when it comes to Tony Evers and his plans for healthcare.”
Despite the criticisms and the demand for Atkinson’s removal, the Evers transition team is not budging on the Atkinson appointment.
“Tanya Atkinson will continue to serve on the Health Policy Advisory Council,” said Evers spokeswoman Carrie Lynch in an email Friday.
Atkinson is the second Wisconsin abortion leader to join the Evers’ transition team as a policy advisor. Also joining the Evers team is Jamie Kuhn, an employee of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s public affairs department and a Dane County supervisor.