Thursday, February 16, 2012

Those Who Oppose Insurance Coverage For Contraception

Look like the people in the front rows of this picture:

The picture is from the Issa hearings:
This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding a hearing on President Obama's policy ensuring that all women can get contraceptive coverage without a copay.
The hearing will feature 10 witnesses--eight of whom are men; none of them is testifying in support of contraceptive coverage.
Ah! But the hearings are not about women's reproductive rights. They are about the curmudgeony religious guys' (and gals') determination to refuse to cover contraceptives. This is what we are told in a letter Rep. Elijah C. Cummings sent to Issa:
Rather than inviting witnesses on both sides of this issue to engage in a reasoned and balanced discussion, you have constructed one of the most one-sided hearings I have ever seen, stacking it only with witnesses who agree with your position.  Earlier this week, you informed Committee Members that you had invited nine witnesses, including officials from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious entities that oppose the accommodation announced last week by the Administration to allow women employees of religiously-affiliated organizations such as hospitals and universities to obtain coverage for contraceptive services directly through their insurance companies.
    You did not invite officials from the Catholic Health Association, Catholic Charities USA, Catholics United, or a host of other Catholic groups that praised the White House for making this accommodation last week.  You also failed to invite any women to testify about the negative impact that restrictive insurance coverage has on them.
    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.”
Bolds are mine. It's not about religion and conscience because only those religious groups which oppose the Obama compromise are invited to come and speak.
Added: And the Democratic women walk out of the hearing. It does look like the Catholic boys' no-girls-allowed tree-house. Except that the topic has to do with those lady parts.