16 February 2012

Daily Kos: Darrell Issa refuses to let woman speak at hearing on 'religious freedom' to deny birth control

Because Republican Rep. Darrell Issa's hearing "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" is a very serious matter that is all about religious freedom and not at all about birth control, no siree, it can only feature the testimony of very serious religious persons whose freedom is important. And when Darrell Issa's running the hearing, only men who agree with Darrell Issa deserve a platform to speak about their freedoms.

As Kaili Joy Gray wrote yesterday, "Issa won't be hearing from any of the nearly two dozen religious groups who have no problem with the Obama administration's new health care policy to require insurance coverage of birth control." That list of the uninvited includes "representatives from the Catholic Health Association, which is run by a woman and actually runs the Catholic hospitals, nor Catholic Charities, both of which said Friday they supported the president’s plan."

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, asked to invite a witness, but, as Cummings recounts:

When my staff inquired about requesting minority witnesses for this hearing, we were informed that you would allow only one. Based on your decision, we requested as our minority witness a third-year Georgetown University Law Center student named Sandra Fluke. I believed it was critical to have at least one woman at the witness table who could discuss the repercussions that denying coverage for contraceptives has on women across this country.

In response, your staff relayed that you had decided as follows:

“As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.” [...]

Instead of inviting Ms. Fluke to testify, your staff informed us that you planned to invite a different witness who was no longer available after being informed of your decision to limit the minority to a single witness. Compounding this insult, this afternoon you added two more witnesses of your own, in violation of Committee rules requiring three days notice for witnesses called by the majority.

Fluke had been chosen to talk "about a classmate who lost an ovary because of a syndrome that causes ovarian cysts. Georgetown, which is affiliated by the Catholic Church, does not insure birth control, which is also used to treat the syndrome." But that's unrelated to the topic of the hearing, at which women don't count because it's not about birth control, it's about the religious freedom to deny birth control coverage, and that's different. Religious organizations that support the administration's position don't count because ... well, they don't.

8:41 AM PT: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) walked out of the hearing in protest, and Holmes Norton "told reporters in the hallway outside the hearing that she marched out because it was being conducted like an 'autocratic regime.'"

Yeah, if women think the GOP wants anything more from them than to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, they are sadly mistaken. Even if this hearing was all about religious freedom (read as: White Christian Male religious freedom), which it isn't, the lack of women testifying strikes me more as a move akin to what the Taliban might do.


  1. The meeting was about the right of the Federal Government to impose regulations on religious institutions.
    Again the lefties get it WRONG and try to make it appear as if it's about GOP mean old men controlling women...AND...the leftist media helps the leftist socialists in their charade.

  2. Hey Anonymous (it should really be spelled anonymouse because mice aren't known for their courage anymore than a person hiding who they are to bitch about something), sorry it took so long to retort but I've been super busy and now I'm not. There is a lot wrong with your statements of denial and defense of the Issa hearings. 1)You assert, wrongly, that the federal government would impose regulations on religious institutions, like a church say, which is 100%, grade A horse hockey. The only things effected by the regulations were hospitals and clinics (you know, health care outlets because it's a health care law), which is only fitting because they are EMPLOYERS not a church holding a religious function. I can see why rabid religious conservatives might take issue with >gasp!< a woman having sex that isn't specifically for baby making purposes and I can see why they might blur the distinction between legitimate religious freedom versus legitimate employer regulation because, hey, they believe in a magic sky fairy who made a mud man and a rib woman, the rib woman being dumb enough to listen to a talking snake that convinced her to eat a mystic fruit thus causing man's enmity with god already, so their reason is suspect to begin with. All that said we go to point 2 in your tired little tirade that there is a leftist media which takes us back to 100% shit because the American tabloid journalism media lean center right. I know, I know, there are 3 or 4 shows that are genuinely left leaning and thus weak proof for the right that the media is indeed leftist, but that is simply ridiculous when you see all the conservative, centrist right shows that are on. I can see why rabid Republicans get all worked up over those 4 shows because it exposes their lies and hypocrisy, but hey, relief is a remote button away and you can listen to conservative blather on Fox, ABC, CNN, and CBS. 3) Being a liberal doesn't equal being a socialist. I myself am an independent voter though I obviously have progressive beliefs. That said 4) What the hell is wrong with socialism against our current system of unfettered, unchecked capitalism which is destroying our nation, our planet and waging global warfare. Unfettered capitalism redistributes wealth to the top, socialism, it is said, redistributes money to the bottom. Are you rich? Okay, then do you work? How hard or are you lazy? Well, if you work your ass off like people I know, wouldn't it be just and right to make a wage that doesn't require you to work 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet? The reason we don't have a living wage is because rich folk and corporations feel they are entitled to be as they are, fuck the rest of the nation. Capitalism is an entitlement program for the rich, period. Only those who have drank the kool-aid fail to recognize this. To close let me just add that the GOP DOES try to control women from trying to outlaw abortion to denying them birth control. It is unconscionable but the brainwashed right follows their piper like the aforementioned mice and rats.


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