16, 2012 10:39 AM PSTTweetThere’s something surreal about watching a congressional hearing in which a room full of men spend a morning publicly discussing birth control, menstrual pain, ovarian cancer, and migraine headaches.
Darrell Issa (R Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, convened just such a hearing on Thursday.
This hearing is just more of the sad and feckless attempt by republicans to gin up a losing issue for the democrats and Obama administration.
Democrats on the committee had attempted to include at least one female viewpoint, that of Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown University, a Catholic university whose health plan doesn’t cover contraception.
WASHINGTON—Religious leaders told a House panel Thursday the Obama administration was violating basic rights to religious freedom with its policies for requiring that employees of religion affiliated institutions have access to birth control coverage.
Y.) protested the glaring omission in her opening statement: "What we want to know is, where are the women.
We look at this panel, and we don’t one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health care services, including family planning.
Elijah Cummings (D Md.) expressed outrage over the nature of the hearing, which not only excluded women but also witnesses who didn’t agree with the Catholic Church.
Recent polls showed that nearly all Catholic women of reproductive age have used birthcontrol, in defiance of church teaching.
The Chairman is promoting a conspiracy theory that the federal government is conducting a “war” against religion.
But other widely respected Catholic groups, including the Catholic Health Association, whichrepresents hundreds of Catholic hospitals, have disavowed the bishops’ fight.
He has also refused to allow a minority witness to testify about the interests of women who want safe and affordable coverage for basic preventive health care, including contraception.
In our opinion, this Committee commits a massive injustice by trying to pretend that the views of millions of women across this country are meaningless, or worthless, or irrelevant to this debate.
The rhetoric at the hearing got so one sided that, at one point, the Democratic women on the committee actually left the room, with DC Del.
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) denouncing Issa’s hearing management as akin to that of "autocratic regimes.
"The hearing dragged on, with Republicans providing plenty of fodder for future Democratic campaign ads blasting them for being anti women, with Democrats responding with actual science on the many ways that birth control pills can save lives, not just prevent pregnancy.
Women’s groups cried hypocrisy: While the bishops argued that covering birth control wasimmoral, some of the faith’s flagship schools were quietly doing just that – with impunity.
Darrell Issa Comes Out Swinging for Catholic BishopsThe GOP’s chief congressional watchdog accuses the Obama administration of anti Catholic bias.
Led by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the bishops have been pressing a muscularcampaign to fight a federal mandate that would have required all health insurance plans, includingthose offered by religious employers, to offer free birth control.
Other Catholic institutions instates that require birth control coverage have gotten around that mandate by self insuring ororganizing their plans under federal law.
Washington— Religious leaders told a House panel Thursday the Obama administration was violating basic rights to religious freedom with its policies for requiring that employees of religion affiliated institutions have access to birth control coverage.
Stephanie MencimerReporterStephanie Mencimer is a staff reporter in Mother Jones’ Washington bureau.
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