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Hundreds Show Up to Oppose Cuts to State Services

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  They showed up knowing they can't stop Iowa Republicans from making budget cuts. They just hoped they could convince them not to cut the programs that were more most important to them.

"I wouldn't have this security and safety that my I.U.D. provides me if not for Planned Parenthood and the Iowa Family Planning Network," Phoebe Clark, a Drake University junior, told lawmakers at a public hearing on next year's budget Monday at the Iowa Statehouse.

Republicans are working to remove all state funding for groups like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions.

University of Iowa student Hira Mustafa spoke up in defense of fellow students who she said already struggle, as lawmakers look to make deeper spending reductions into the state's public university system.

"These students are the leaders of our future and the state of Iowa," she said. "The financial burden on top of the many other struggles they face is devastating."

Others from the crowd of several hundred spoke out against cuts in the prison system, counseling, and environmental research.

Earlier in the day, Governor Branstad blamed struggling revenues in the agriculture sector, which he said necessitated revenue reductions. He credited Republicans, who hold the majority in the legislature, for creating a spending plan the state can afford.

Branstad said, "We’re deeply concerned that there are some challenging and difficult decisions they have made this year. But I’m proud of the fact that they’re making these decisions and they’re doing it in a thoughtful way."

Lawmakers are working to finalize a spending plan for next year, which will spend less than the current year. They could likely do that by the end of the week and then adjourn for the year.