UPDATE: By the way, MomsRising sent out a petition this morning asking Congress to include the real experts on birth control — women and mothers — to be representative on any future panel. -Elisa
Once again, I find myself shaking my head and feeling powerless at the arrogance displayed by certain Republican and male-centric religious circles towards women. I am so sick of reading posts by even Democratic men saying that President Obama should have sought advice from “real” Catholics — er men — like Joe Biden and Bob Casey regarding the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act rather than “women who happen to be Catholic” like Kathleen Sebelius or a nun who is an advisor.
Basically, the implication is that women should have no say regarding any policies around birth control and that we should leave it up to the men to decide for us. No where else was this more obvious than a House Republican-led hearing yesterday, in which female witnesses were barred from testifying. From Think Progress:
Ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had asked (Republican Rep. Darrell) Issa to include a female witness at the hearing, but the Chairman refused, arguing that “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.”
And so Cummings, along with the Democratic women on the panel, took their request to the hearing room, demanding that Issa consider the testimony of a female college student. But the California congressman insisted that the hearing should focus on the rules’ alleged infringement on “religious liberty,” not contraception coverage, and denied the request. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out of the hearing in protest of his decision, citing frustration over the fact that the first panel of witnesses consisted only of male religious leaders against the rule. Holmes Norton said she will not return, calling Issa’s chairmanship an “autocratic regime.”
Wow. What about our rights, including that of religious women, to be heard? Should our opinions — our health and mental well-being — not play into this rule at all? Who are the women sleeping with these men? Yikes!
In related news, Oklahoma Senate passed a “personhood bill”, declaring life at conception and rendering abortion illegal. The interesting note about this story is that the chamber tabled an amendment that would have equally considered sperm sacred.
The Personhood Act, Senate Bill 1433, received international attention in the wake of a proposed amendment from Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Holdenville. The amendment said it was an act against unborn children for men to waste sperm.
“A lot of people thought that I was being facetious with my amendment in committee, and it was humorous and it has gotten international response,” Johnson said to her fellow senators.
“But I was serious as a heart attack. It wasn’t until I used the biological and scientific references to those functions that somebody heard it. Maybe nobody in this chamber gets it but somebody heard that all we’re asking for is for this conversation to include both individuals that are necessary to bring life about.”
Johnson, whose amendment was tabled, said she is sick of legislation that pries into the private lives of women with no mention of the men who are co-actors in the process of conception.
The double standard here is so blatant. War on women, anyone?