Men discussing contraception

Republican politicians are treading into murky (read: sexist) waters in the contraception debate. Earlier today, in protest of House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa’s refusal to allow women onto a panel of witnesses at the hearing on the White House mandate to require employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out, garnering a significant amount of media attention and setting off an ensuing furor among women and men. Why no women? Issa said, “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.”

For story, go here.

There a petition on the topic here.

(Thanks, S!)

21 thoughts on “Men discussing contraception

  1. Maybe it’s just a Euro perspective, but American right-wing angst about abortion and contraception really seems demented. So much anger, so much indignation… about a matter that a woman should be free to act upon or not… as she chooses.

  2. The gop has truly lost all connection with the American public. Issa says it is about religious freedom which actually illustrates how little the Republican Party comprehends the realities of this issue.

  3. As the linked story notes (albeit very discreetly), there were two women witnesses on the docket – Dr. Allison Dabbs Garrett and Dr. Laura Champion – but unfortunately Reps. Mahoney and Norton missed out on their testimony since these witnesses were scheduled for the second half of the hearing. Kudos indeed to Mahoney and Norton, who by punching the clock early were able to combine two favorite Congressional pastimes – work-shirking and media grandstanding – in a way that I can’t help thinking bears some relation to why Congressional job approval ratings have been so unbelievably low for so long.

  4. Interesting question raised by Connie Rice on Soledad O’Brian’s CNN Starting Point: what is the stance on vasectomies? does any body know?

  5. @Kathryn: re this whole kerfluffle over insurance coverage for contraception. Wondering it is “OK” with these super-conservative types to have insurance coverage for vasectomies, but not for women’s reproduction rights/needs?

  6. J, since the legal objection to the HHS mandate depends upon the subjective convictions of the employers, I’m not sure it’s relevant whether those convictions seem fair-minded, balanced or reasonable to anyone.

  7. Nemo, don’t you think it is relevant though, if for example Notre Dame insures for vasectomies? Given that vasectomies would be considered morally illicit for the same reasons contraceptives are, it would diminish the legitimacy of the claim that insuring for contraceptives would contradict their moral convictions, on the assumption that what they already do, does not. I don’t know that they do, or if any of the universities or hospitals in question do. But it looks like a relevant question to me.

  8. I just realized I think I misunderstood what you were saying– that, if there were a religious group that held vasectomies were morally permissible, but contraceptives were not, what would the situation be then.

  9. Kathryn, the First Amendment prevents the government from getting entangled in questions that touch closely on substantive matters of religious doctrine and theology, such as whether a person’s religious objections to vasectomies are the same as their objections to contraceptives, or whether a particular institution’s interpretation of their own religious beliefs are “orthodox” relative to its peers, or probably even in exactly what way insuring for contraceptives contradicts their religious beliefs, etc. While I understand your line of argument, and think it is pretty logical, I doubt that a court or federal agency could permissibly pursue it. So it’s relevant from a philosophical or theological standpoint, you are absolutely right of course, but likely not from a legal one. I should have clarified that that’s what I meant.

  10. Kathryn, I didn’t see your #11 before posting my #13, but I think you’re right about the general gist there.

  11. Sure it’s about religion: patriarchical religion where only men stand the closest to god. Medieval and pathetic.

  12. j- I’m not sure about other schools, but I just found that Notre Dame’s (student) insurance plan does not cover “Expense for the contraceptive methods, devices or aids, and charges for or related to artificial insemination,
    in-vitro fertilization, or embryo transfer procedures, elective sterilization or its reversal or elective abortion
    unless specifically provided for in this Plan.” I think this provision is in all of their plans.

  13. By the way, the Congressional testimony of the two “Invisible Women” is now available online, for anyone interested. No, I’m not referring to Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who were merely truant, but rather the women witnesses on the contraception mandate they would have heard testify if they’d stuck around.

    Dr. Allison Dabbs Garrett:

    Dr. Laura Champion:

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