Republicans tried to start a war about religion at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing yesterday, but like Pogo, they “met the enemy and he is us.” Last week, Republicans lost the issue of contraceptive coverage by religiously affiliated institutions to a widely accepted compromise.
Yesterday, they tried to reframe the controversy to see if they could get more mileage by exploiting the religious side of the issue, using unprecedented tactics.
WATCH REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON DISCUSS OPPOSITION TO THE GOP:
Republicans vetoed the minority’s one witness and stacked the hearing with extra witnesses for themselves. They had 10. We asked for one, a Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, who was at the hearing but was not allowed to testify. She would have told of the ordeal of her friend whose polycystic ovary syndrome was controlled by certain contraceptive pharmaceuticals that she could not afford. Consequently, the young woman lost an ovary and may not be able to have children.
Yesterday’s hearing was a direct response to a controversy that had two sides – religious liberty, the only side represented at the hearing, and the right of women to be insured for contraceptives, who were denied any voice. Women’s voices became the silent majority denied a seat at a table stacked with men. They were simply defined out of a hearing about one of the most important women’s health matters.
Fortunately, the Obama administration’s win-win compromise, providing contraceptive coverage entirely through insurers at no additional cost to women, with religiously affiliated institutions free from any involvement, had already won the day — and the issue.