There are many more perspectives Congress needs to hear from on the important topic of contraceptive access…especially when it comes to contraceptive access for women who use birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy. Here is a quick list of folks I’d love to see testifying, as well as a little background to show why their voices are so important.
Foster Friess, Rick Santorum’s chief political benefactor and main donor to the Super PAC backing Rick Santorum’s presidential bid told Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC that women should just “keep their legs shut.”
This is an open letter of thanks to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D – CT) after watching her speak at the House hearing today on religious freedom and birth control.
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 health care services, including family planning.
This hearing represents a failure of responsibility on the part of the majority and the chair. Nonetheless, I will answer the question posed by the committee. And the answer is: No.
We have an obligation as a nation to make accommodations, where appropriate, to avoid undue interference with the practice of religion. But to avoid a massive injustice, we must also consider the interest of women.
In his testimony at the February 16th House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the contraceptive coverage mandate under health reform, the Most Reverend William E. Lori, the Bishop of Bridgeport and spokesperson for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, defended the claim of “religious freedom” by comparing essential primary health care for women to kosher deli being forced to serve pork. I’ll call it the “ham sandwich defense.” His opening salvo revealed just how shallow the case against insurance coverage for contraception is.
Under New York State’s law mandating insurance coverage for contraception, Fordham was able to accept that religiously-affiliated entities that want to sell products in the marketplace like insurance and federally-subsidized education must meet the same quality standards as non-religious organizations. Unfortunately, despite state law, Fordham still fails to guarantee access to affordable contraception.
As I have watched national media coverage of this debate, it has been heartbreaking, frankly, to see women’s health treated as a political football. When I turn off the TV and look around my campus, I instead see the faces of the women affected, and I have heard more and more of their stories. I am here to share their voices and ask that you hear them.
Today on Capitol Hill, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform assembled a panel to discuss the birth control mandate in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The panel consisted of eight male anti-choice, anti-contraception religious leaders and one female anti-choice witness. None had health credentials.