Witness Panel for House Republicans’ Hearing on Contraceptives Is Men Only

Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) Allowed Democrats to Call a Single Witness – Then Barred Her From Testifying

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“What I want to know is, where are the women?” asked Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) shortly before she walked out of House oversight committee hearing on insurance coverage for contraceptives. “I look at this panel [of witnesses], and I don’t see 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.”

Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa called five witnesses who opposed a rule floated and then quickly rescinded by the Obama administration last week that would have required church-owned businesses to cover the cost of contraceptives for their employees. All five Republican witnesses were men.

Issa refused to seat the lone witness he’d allowed Democrats to call. Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University, had planned to testify about the experience of a fellow student at the Catholic university who lost an ovary because the school’s insurance did not cover the contraceptives she needed to treat ovarian cysts.

Issa claimed Fluke was not qualified because, unlike the Republican witnesses, she was not a religious expert.

“We will not be forced back to that primitive era,” Rep. Maloney said. She and District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton then left the hearing in protest.


  • February 16, 2012 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I am totally speechless….an all male panel with that moron Issa…I am totally furious that an all male panel is deciding what health care a woman should be entitled too…these men aren’t physicians…these men and Issa and all the other republicans… especially Santorum…need to keep their moronic views of women’s reproductive health issues out of politics. Who the hell do they think they are?
    Oh..and the crack about the aspirin between the knees is a good ole boy comment that was around when Hector was a pup…not funny then…not funny now. I cannot believe this hearing was allowed to occur…unemployment…hunger…people losing their homes…children living in the streets…and these idiots are worried about birth control…a pox on those idiot republicans…run Ricky run…Obama in 2012!

  • Terry M.
    February 16, 2012 - 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I as a male am too appaled at the beligerant and holier than thou attitude these ass monkeys have, and what professional pont of view or opinions could they have, that they are some how superior to women in this regards. Do not these panels ask the hard and obvious questions or is that asking to much from these cro magnons? Further more how is it that these delusional halfwits could even offer 1/10000000 the information to allow for a fair and balanced argument for or against such issues and or topics, please enumerate me.

  • Calgal
    February 16, 2012 - 8:00 pm | Permalink

    When religious organizations engage in secular businesses, their religious protections under the 1st Amendment must give way to the rules that all businesses must adhere to, such as labor laws, minimum wage and overtime laws, ERISA protections for pension plans, etc. The fact that some large hospital chains are under a Catholic umbrella doesn’t mean they can skirt basic legal duties. In this case, Catholic hospitals aren’t operating as churches, but as hospitals – making profits, employing doctors, nurses, orderlies, technicians, janitors, IT folks, and the like. Hence, faith isn’t implicated in the requirement to offer birth control under the health insurance medication formulary any more than offering Viagra. This is a joke!

  • Marie
    February 17, 2012 - 6:48 am | Permalink

    People who work for Catholic institutions accept the institutions mission statement which is directly connected to the Church governance which is the office of the Bishop who is the overseeyer. Our social justice teaching, which includes Catholic institutions does mean the protection and the sanity of Life. To force the culture of death on the Church the Bishop will have to cut off services they now provide.

    The right to bear arms does not mean I have to buy a gun for someone who wants one.

    • Madison
      February 17, 2012 - 6:55 am | Permalink

      That is an irrelevant non-issue, Marie. Contraceptives for employees of church-owned businesses will be paid for by the health insurance mega-corporations — including for the 98 percent of Catholic women who use them.

  • anthrogirl
    February 17, 2012 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    I hope this stupid issue is the nail in the coffin of the republican party. And as a Catholic, I think we should get out of the healthcare business. We’re obviously not very good at it. If we only hire people who uphold the faith, we’ll have a much smaller pool of docs & other professionals to pull from and we will not be able to compete. We need to stop playing God. We’re hypocrits if we deny birth control pills to women like the one mentioned in the article who was suffering ovarian cysts. I have many women friends who use birth control pills to control heavy peri-menopausal bleeding. We Catholics need to stop being our own Gods and making people suffer while we wallow in our own self righteousness.

  • Linda
    February 17, 2012 - 11:24 am | Permalink

    The media and others focusing on no women on the panel are missing important points. Republicans only invited individuals that had the ant-Obama opinion they wanted.

    Republicans did not invite any of the religious organizations that have applauded Obama’s exemption and applauded the mandate for contraception.

    Many of the non-Catholic churches/organizations that have railed against the false religious liberties claim are doing it because they are anti-Obama. Some of the have been very active in anti-Obama actions since 2007.

    Why didn’t they invite any of the following:

    Includes Catholic Organizations http://www.faithinpubliclife.org/blog/prominent-faith-leaders-theologians-celebrate-common-ground-solution-on-contraception-religious-liberty/

    http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx? c=frLJK2PKLqF&b=4909851&ct=11627315


    In contrast, 24 religious leaders, representing Protestant,Reform and Conservative Jewish, andMuslim faiths, issueda joint statementfrom the Religious Institute on Feb. 8 stating, “We respect individuals’moral agency to make decisions abouttheirsexualityand reproductive health without governmental interference orlegal restriction.” Andthe public policy office of the United Methodist Church, which also runs hospitals anduniversities, applaudedthe mandate to cover contraception.

    Another statement agreeing with Obama’s mandate was signed by:

    Catholics for Choice; the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Concerned Clergy for Choice; Disciples Justice Action Network; Episcopal Divinity School; Episcopal Women’s Caucus; Hadassah; the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; Jewish Women International; Methodist Federation for Social Action; Muslims for Progressive Values; the National Council of Jewish Women; Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board; the Rabbinical Assembly; the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; the Religious Institute; Society for Humanistic Judaism; The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; Union Theological Seminary; Unitarian Universalist Association; United Church of Christ; and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism ” The unity of the religious leaders contrasted with the partisan divide among lawmakers”

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