House Oversight Holds One-Sided Hearing on Contraception
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WASHINGTON – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee essentially held a hearing today on contraception. At the heart of the discussion is a new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that ensures women will have insurance coverage for birth control. Late last week the Obama administration modified the policy to allow those religiously affiliated hospitals, universities, and social service agencies to opt out of paying for contraceptive coverage and instead have insurance companies directly provide coverage affected employees. The policy has always had an exemption for houses of worship.
Overwhelmingly male, all of the witnesses on both panels oppose the rule. A female student was put forward by the minority to testify but was barred from testifying by the Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
“The committee’s majority seems to be working on behalf of religious opponents to help suppress women’s voices in a debate that is largely about women’s health,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, ACLU policy counsel. “It is clearer now than it has ever been that this is not about religious freedom. It is an attempt to roll back access to contraception. Our government’s policies regarding the health of women should reflect the concerns of women, regardless of where they work. While the committee may have not cared to hear women’s views on why contraception matters, we will continue to fight to make sure those voices are heard."