I don’t have an image I can show, but that’s how I would describe the witnesses invited to Capitol Hill by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa (also a white guy) to talk about — prescription birth control! Well, Issa claims his oversight committee hearing was really about religion, but I think he missed the irony that he’s part of government that isn’t supposed to have any oversight of religion.
I know that there are still a lot of people who have their knickers in a twist over the question of whether employers who have an “affiliation” with an organized religion (think universities and hospitals) ought to provide health insurance coverage to its employees (read: women) for birth control. You thought that was all taken care of with the compromise hammered out by President Obama and super vocal religions?
Issa not only held a hearing essentially to vent his continued outrage that someone might think that women’s health could actually trump someone’s religious beliefs, he then refused to let the Democratic committee members call any witnesses and turned away the lone woman they had on hand to talk about this issue. You see Issa and so many other men are sticking with their story that this is about their First Amendment freedom of religion rights and not about women’s access to birth control.
What’s Issa afraid of? That if he actually hears a woman talk about her side of the issue he and others might be persuaded? Or that voters would see through this carefully crafted stage play of pretending they’re so worried about freedom of religion? Actually, for Issa, it’s not so much about religion in general, but about the chip on his shoulder he has about thinking that Uncle Sam has it in for Catholics. I’m waiting for him to say his penchant for other investigations has its basis in religion, too, because that’s a whole lot sexier and easier to put into soundbites than saying you’re going after arcane agency regulations (*yawn*).
Issa’s charade was so outrageous that after asking aloud where the women were, Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney Eleanor Holmes Norton walked out in protest. Issa tried to assuage the women by saying that the woman who was present to testify couldn’t because she wasn’t a member of the clergy and, therefore, not qualified to talk about this important religious issue.
Does Issa think we all just fell of the turnip truck?
Someone laughed at me the other day when I suggested that this latest attempt to keep women in their place, by cutting off yet another venue to get birth control, wasn’t over. Guess what. Congressman Issa has proven that it’s far from over. And if you like your prescription birth control, this is the election cycle to send a message to him and all those who have made every effort to send women back to the days of June Cleaver — Vote. Them. Out.
I might change my mind about Issa and his ilk if they hold a hearing on religion and Viagra.