The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing today examining President Obama's recent decisions regarding coverage of contraceptive services in healthcare plans. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight, made a statement on Fox News yesterday describing the nature of the hearing:
"This hearing will be about the basic question of separation of Church and State, the basic question of the First Amendment, the basic question of whether or not in this country we tell religious people how to live their lives or what to do."
Titled "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?," the hearing included 10 witnesses, none of which are in favor of Obama's birth control policy, and none of which were female. Protesting Issa's refusal to allow women or minorities on the panel, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) all walked out of the hearing.
Nancy Pelosi, a strong proponent of women's reproductive rights, spoke to the California Democratic Convention on Saturday, confident in her belief that, "no longer being a woman is a pre-existing medical condition." Earlier this morning, she too drew attention to the lack of women on the panel, bringing the issue back to one of women's rights. She tweeted, and included a picture of the all male panel:
At @GOPOversight hearing right now 5 men are testifying on women's health: yfrog.com/10wg35j#WhereAreTheWomen? — Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) February 16, 2012
Rep. Carolyn Maloney echoes Pelosi's concern with the lack of female representation by asking the committee, where are the women? In answer to this question, Chairman Issa blocked progressive women from testifying in favor of the healthcare policy, and the panel "consisted exclusively of men from conservative religious organizations."Maloney responded during the hearing:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK38kuMOuXY&list=UUWLMgQfy8JMBVwMdqg_NXjw&index=2&feature=plcp