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Female pastors in Iowa sign letter expressing support for Planned Parenthood

(Reuters/Ilana Panich-Linsman)Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is seen in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016.

A group of female pastors in Iowa have written a letter this week to express their support for Planned Parenthood and to denounce a bill that would defund the abortion organization.

Last month, the Iowa Senate approved Senate File 2, which aims to redirect funds away from Planned Parenthood and allocate the money to health centers that do not perform abortions.

In the letter published in the Des Moines Register on Wednesday, the female pastors praised Planned Parenthood and condemned the bill, which is currently being considered in the state House.

"As clergy and as women, we oppose any action by the Iowa Legislature to restrict a woman's ability to make her own health care and reproductive decisions or to access health care services," the pastors wrote.

"Additionally, we support Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the excellent care it provides for any woman who chooses its health care services," they continued.

The letter included signatures from pastors from the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, Christian Church (Disciple of Christ) and Unity Church. The pastors noted in the letter that they represent the views of "many others in their faith," but they were not speaking on behalf of their denominations or congregations.

The pastors further stated that the legislation is "dangerous and "extreme." They also claimed that it "threatens access to basic health care for low-income women."

Supporters of the measure have previously stated that women in Iowa will have "access to 221 clinics statewide that will expand coverage to rural women who must now make long drives to urban areas for family planning services."

Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton), co-sponsor of the bill, argued that it would increase health care access for women, especially those in rural areas where there are no Planned Parenthood clinics.

Iowa is one of the several states that are moving to defund Planned Parenthood.

Last week, Republicans in U.S. Congress unveiled the American Health Care Act, which includes provisions that would revoke funding for the abortion organization.

President Donald Trump recently offered to keep funding Planned Parenthood if it stopped performing abortions, but his proposal was turned down.

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