Clergy call for more women's health funding

Group: Poor women need government-funded contraception

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AUSTIN, Texas - More than 300 members of the clergy are calling on the Texas Legislature to boost funding for women's health programs.

Leaders of Methodist, Buddhist, Presbyterian, Jewish, Baptist and Unitarian congregations lobbied lawmakers on Monday asking for more spending on birth control programs. They said poor women in particular need government-funded contraception.

Speakers at a press conference said that too often people use religion to oppose allowing women to control their reproductive systems.

Pastor Larry Bethune of the University Baptist Church in Austin said the faithful want women to be healthy and to make healthy choices.

The Legislature cut funding for women's health programs in 2011. Republican lawmakers are talking about restoring some of that funding, but routing it through primary care doctors rather than dedicated women's health clinics.


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