Sandra Fluke Testifies at House Democratic Steering Committee Hearing
Yesterday, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering Committee held a hearing concerning the religious exemption on contraception coverage and women's health, inviting Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown Law School as the sole witness. Leader Pelosi called the hearing in response to the refusal of Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to allow Fluke to testify at last week's hearing "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?"
In an unusual move, Chairman Issa did not allow the Democratic minority to have a single witness at last week's hearing, allowing testimony only from those opposed to the Obama Administration's decision on women's contraception to testify. The hearing's primary panel did not include a single woman, prompting Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to ask "Where are the Women?"
At the hearing yesterday, Fluke spoke out for the importance of the Obama Administration's rule to ensure that Catholic students have access to contraceptive coverage under the preventive care package of the Affordable Care Act. The coverage would come from private insurance companies without any funding from religious institutions. In her testimony, Fluke stated, "I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan. Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result, employees at religiously affiliated hospitals and universities across the country have suffered similar burdens. We are all grateful for the new regulation that will meet the critical health care needs of so many women...We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health, and we resent that, in the 21st century, anyone thinks it's acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women."
Media Resources: Statement of Nancy Pelosi 2/23/12; Feminist Daily Newswire