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Pelosi’s family planning remarks anger Agudah

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Agudath Israel of America asked U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to repudiate her statement that funding birth control reduces government costs.

"Viewing the funding of birth control as a fit and proper means of stimulating the economy — and by extension children as essentially burdens on the treasury — should be beneath a public servant, much less someone of your accomplishment and influence," Agudah executive vice president David Zwiebel wrote in a letter Monday to Pelosi (D-Calif.). "From our perspective, every human life is inherently precious, and carries with it the potential for greatness and holiness."

Zwiebel was responding to an interview Pelosi gave to "ABC News This Week" in which the House of Representatives speaker defended the inclusion of funds for family planning services in the $825 million economic recovery package proposed by Democrats.

"Well, the family planning services reduce cost," she said. "The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now, and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those — one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception — will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

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