No girls allowed: Contraception hearing turns into an all boys club

If I were a woman, I’d be angry.

Actually ... I’m not a woman and I’m still angry.

In an open and unabashed insult to women across this land, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) recently held a Congressional hearing to discuss the issue of mandated insurance funding for contraception.

The committee session was announced and called. The panel was seated. Witnesses were sworn.

And although the session was called to hold a discussion on what is ultimately a women’s issue, reproductive health, the only people called as witnesses were men.

Men.

And not only men, but clerics.

Pastors and priests, with a rabbi tossed in for good measure.

Luckily, there was one black guy along with the Jew.

At least, nobody can say that members of a minority, or adherents to a minority religion weren’t in attendance.

But women weren’t there.

One had been invited, but she was booted out and not allowed to give testimony.

Not one woman was allowed to speak up on a issue that not only deals with birth control, but with other issues of gynecological health as well.

But then why should our leaders expect women to have an opinion on contraception?

Why would anyone want or need a woman’s testimony during a hearing that dealt with third party funding of contraceptive health care.

What would anyone think a woman would know or understand anything about caring for their own bodies?

Now, the guys at the table ... they understood.

The guys.

For example, Roman Catholic Bishop William Lori.

Here’s a guy qualified to speak to the issue of women’s contraception ... or not.

(Actually,  I should hope that Bishop Lori would know NOTHING about contraception.)

And there were the other witnesses.

The Rev. Jonah Paffhausen, Washington archbishop of  the Orthodox Church in America, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and a couple of others (men of course).

I’d suggest these weren’t the all-time best panelists to be discussing contraceptive issues with members of Congress.

I mean, really.

Couldn’t they at least have called on a woman cleric — a female pastor or priest — even if she too disagreed with the Obama administration’s demand that contraception be covered by insurers just as any other health expense.

At least they would have had ... a woman.

So why was this committee session so absurdly skewed?

Well, from the get-go it was obvious this wasn’t exactly going to be a balanced discussion of anything.

Consider, if you will, the meeting’s title: “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State.  Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

Rep. Darrell Issa really had no plan to discuss the issue with ... anyone.

This committee meeting was simply another rather shallow opportunity to lecture the world about the Obama administration’s “war on religion.”

Ultimately, it had nothing to do with women or contraception. It was a ruse.

The topic was ... convenient. Nothing more.

If I was a woman, I’d be mad.

Wait. I am mad.

If a Catholic or any other religious institution’s healthcare providers are willing and able to pay for Viagra with the argument that Viagra is used in treating a medical condition, the question begs to be asked “Is not contraception being used to deal with a ‘medical condition’ as well?”

Not being able to have an erection is a “medical condition”, but being pregnant, no matter what the circumstance, is “a blessing”?

Is it really more important that there be mandated third party insurance coverage to deal with erectile dysfunction, than it is to deal with the ultimate result of erectile function?

It makes you wonder.

What makes me wonder even more is the complete disregard shown American women during the recent Congressional hearing on the contraception issue.

But then, the session was sponsored by members of the same party who have foisted such men as Rick Santorum off on the American public as viable candidates for the presidency.

Taking up the banner of the GO (and the church) on the contraception issue, Santorum said flat out that the use of contraception is wrong.

Sex, according to Santorum, is good for one thing and one thing alone — procreation.

Good luck with that.

If I were a woman, I’d have a hard time voting for any politician or party so openly insulting of women. I’d also have a hard time attending services in a church or synagogue that is so openly and proudly disparaging of women.

Oh, wait. I’m not a woman, but I still won’t vote for these guys or attend their church.

I’m not a woman, but I have too much respect for the women in my life — at home and at work — to belittle them in ways that are so commonly acceptable in the United States today.