Monday, February 20, 2012

"The Testimony Chairman Issa Doesn't Want You to Hear"

Sandra Fluke, a law school student attending Georgetown University

From the LATimes:

This week, there were no women appearing with the first panel before a House committee, which titled its hearings "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State" but that really was about the healthcare overhaul's requirement that employers' health insurance policies cover contraception.

The Democrats’ witness of choice -- a female Georgetown law student whose friend couldn't get access to contraceptive treatment there because of the university's religious affiliation, and who, evidently as a consequence, lost an ovary because of a syndrome that causes ovarian cysts -- was not permitted to testify. That, according to California Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who heads the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was because she is not a member of the clergy, unlike the five men who did testify.

A letter to Democratic members from Issa's staff explained the decision not to let the student testify; it said the hearing "is not about reproductive rights but about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience."

Issa's colleague, New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney, begged to differ: "What I want to know is, where are the women? I look at this panel 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 healthcare services, including family planning.... Of course this hearing is about rights -- contraception and birth control. It's about the fact that women want to have access to basic health services [and] family planning through their insurance plan."

A second panel later in the day included two women chosen by Issa, both from Christian-oriented academic institutions but neither a clergy member. The two Democratic women on the committee, Maloney and the D.C. representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with a male colleague, Mike Quigley of Illinois, walked out of the hearing in protest.


I am upset that Republicans actually seem to believe that the fact that these authoritarian religious men are disturbed by other people's sex lives is a reason to change public policy. The religious beliefs of the women are apparently irrelevant - and yet the men/Republicans cry that this is a violation of religious liberty (for the men). It goes beyond absurd and into the world of disturbing.

Of course the Republicans are also in denial about global warming, overpopulation, over-consumption, etc. It would be nice if they realized that we can't keep having medical technologies prolong life without also have medical technologies that prevent everyone from having 10+ kids.

Some of these people (like the Pope and Santorum) actually believe that people should not be having sex unless they are creating a baby. But really - what does the Pope know about sex? Are any of the Bishops heterosexual? If they have any more hearings, perhaps somebody should ask them why they are so concerned about how much sex other people have (procreationsl or recreational) - when they have decided sex is irrelevant to their lives. And what does their obsession about controlling other's sex lives have to do with spirituality.

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