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Women Clergy: Planned Parenthood ‘Vital’ to Women

A group of Iowa women clergy from various denominations is echoing the words of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in describing the services the abortion business provides as “vital.”

In a column at the Des Moines Register, the seven women said, “Planned Parenthood of the Heartland plays a vital role in ensuring quality services for” low-income women seeking family planning services.

Two weeks ago, in response to President Donald Trump’s proposal that Planned Parenthood quit providing abortions in order to continue its taxpayer funding, Richards rejected the pitch, tweeting that abortion is “a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings.”

The clergy women write in response to Senate File 2, a bill that would bar taxpayer Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions.

The measure states:

Distribution of family planning services program funds shall not be made to any entity that performs abortions or that maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.

Family planning services program funds distributed in accordance with this section shall not be used for direct or indirect costs, including but not limited to administrative costs or expenses, overhead, employee salaries, rent, and telephone and other utility costs, related to providing abortions as specified…

The bill, however, would redirect funding from abortion facilities such as Planned Parenthood to other federal and community healthcare centers that provide more comprehensive care.

Federally qualified healthcare centers, for example, provide more services to low-income families than Planned Parenthood does. Nationally, there are 13,000 FQHCs – a figure that outnumbers Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1. Eight FQHCs, for example, are located within ten miles of Des Moines.

Despite the overwhelming number of FQHCs, however, the abortion lobby and their allies – such as these clergy women – claim that by redirecting funding away from Planned Parenthood, states are preventing low-income individuals from accessing health care.

Referring to Senate File 2 as “extreme legislation,” the clergy women claim that religious beliefs are being used “to change the law and infringe upon the rights of women.”

The clergy women are:

  • Rev. LeAnn Stubbs, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Beverlee Bell, United Methodist Church
  • Rev. Deborah Hill-Davis, Unity Church
  • Rev. Erin Gingrich, Unitarian Universalist Association
  • Rev. Debbie Griffin, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Rev. Rachel Thorson Mithelman, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Rev. Jean McCarthy, The Episcopal Church

“Through our faiths, we are joining together to balance those arguments and to assure legislators that the religious community does not speak with one voice,” they write. “Through our faith and ministry with women in our communities, we are standing in support of Planned Parenthood and fighting with women and their right to have access to quality, affordable health care services.”

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