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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Staff Editorial

Women not allowed to speak on birth control


In a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing last week over President Obama’s mandate to eliminate co-pays for birth control, women learned something interesting: An all-male panel knows more about their bodies than they do.

Rep. Joe Walsh contended that the hearing on birth control access was not about women, but about religious freedom.  Minority Rep. Carolyn Maloney was not convinced that the hearing was about religious liberties and offered some fiery words to fellow members of the committee.

“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 preventative health care services, including family planning,” Maloney said. “Where are the women?”

Maloney, who eventually walked out of the hearing, accused Republican committee chairman, Rep. Darrel Issa, of trying to send women back to a primitive era when “the government thought what happens in the bedroom (was) their business.”

There should have been women on that panel. But then again, how could the women have been objective when the issue is connected to what goes on in their bodies. What kind of precedent would that create? Letting women testify about contraceptives could lead to men testifying about prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction.

It seems that some Republicans on Capitol Hill would rather treat women like chattel and pretend that access to contraceptives is a religious issue to be discussed by a panel of men.

Huffington Post bloggers Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks wrote on their blog that the hearing reveals that women have not yet benefited from the Civil Rights Act.

“Over half the population still doesn’t enjoy full civil rights, and Republicans seemed bent on taking away some of the most important ones they have,” wrote Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks on their blog.

Women should have access to birth control without having to pay co-pays. Preventing them from speaking about that right in the hearing was a travesty.

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