A group of seven Iowa clergywomen declared their support and their “hope and prayer” for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in a Des Moines Register opinion piece on March 15, saying that the abortion provider offers “excellent care” and “plays a vital role” for women “in every district across Iowa.”
The clergywomen wrote the piece in response to Iowa’s Senate File 2, which passed the Iowa Senate last month and is currently in the state House. The bill would defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Iowa, redirecting those funds to community health centers that do not offer abortion services.
“As clergy and as women,” the opinion piece begins, “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.”
“Additionally,” the clergywomen say, “we support Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the excellent care it provides for any woman who chooses its health care services.”
The clergywomen then denounce Senate File 2 as “extreme legislation” that “threatens” health care for “low-income women” and restricts their “fundamental right” to make health care decisions. They later claim that, should “publicly supported family planning services” such as Planned Parenthood be defunded, the abortion rate would “greatly increase.”
The seven women contend that “all arguments” against women’s “reproductive choices” are “based in morality and religious beliefs,” and that “those religious beliefs” are being used to “change the law and infringe upon the rights of women.” They claim, however, that “the religious community does not speak with one voice.”
“Through our faith and ministry with women in our communities,” the clergywomen conclude, “we are standing in support of Planned Parenthood and fighting with women and their right to have access to quality, affordable health care services.”
The statement is signed by 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 Mitheiman, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Rev. Jean McCarthy, the Episcopal Church.