1. News & Issues

Why is Rep. Darrell Issa Afraid of Women? No Female on Panel of "Experts" at Contraceptive Coverage Hearings

By February 16, 2012

Follow me on:

Rep. Darrell Issa

Why is this man so afraid of women? That's the only reason I can come up with to explain why Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) picked a panel of men to testify on the contraceptive coverage controversy before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. His first round of "experts" (shown being sworn in) was all male, and when asked to include a Georgetown law student who wanted to speak in favor of of contraceptive coverage, he said no.

As ABC News reports, his attempt at stacking the deck was called out by his colleagues:

"Where are the women?" the minority Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.,asked early in the hearing.

She criticized...Issa, for wanting to "roll back the fundamental rights of women to a time when the government thought what happens in the bedroom is their business."

"We will not be forced back to that primitive era," she said....

Ranking committee member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.,wanted to invite third-year Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke to testify, telling Issa it was important to have at least one woman at the witness table because the issue involved health repercussions for women.

Of the ten invited witnesses, 8 were men and none supported Obama's contraceptive coverage compromise. The second panel included two women, one a female physician. Conspicuously missing were two well-respected Catholic organizations clearly regarded as a threat by Issa:

Not invited, complained Democrats, were representatives from the Catholic Health Association, which is run by a woman andactually runs the Catholic hospitals, nor Catholic Charities, both of whichsaidFriday they supported the president's plan.

Just like the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings, a roomful of powerful white men get their say on an issue that impacts women from every walk of life and women are ignored or pushed aside.

Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) walked out of the hearings in protest although Maloney later returned to question the witnesses.

According to Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches:

...Cummings, the son of two Pentecostal ministers, accused Issa of "promoting a conspiracy theory that the federal government is conducting a 'war' on religion." Cummings added that "The pill has had a profound impact on their well being, far more than any man in this room could know."...

Holmes Norton, an attorney, said the continuing "moral" objections to the coverage requirement are eliminated by the Obama accommodation of last Friday, which she called an "extraordinary win-win" because the objecting institutions will not have to pay for the coverage because that cost was shifted to the insurance companies. Now, she said, their continuing objection "is to women who work for them getting contraception."

Holmes Norton who teaches at Georgetown Law Center characterized the institution as "the foremost Catholic university in the country." As Fluke herself said, "I don't understand how you can have an open conversation without hearing from the women who have been personally affected by this."

Photo of Darrell Issa Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Related article:

Obama Exempts Religious Institutions, Puts Contraceptive Costs on Insurance Companies


February 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm
(1) Molly Kelly says:

I am a volunteer for a Democrat candidate running against Darrel Issa for the 49th district of the House. His name is Jerry Tetalman. His website is JerryforCongress2012.com. There is an alternative to Darrel Issa. Jerry supports women’s rights. Thanks for letting me get the word out.

February 19, 2012 at 1:59 am
(2) MLL says:

Well, leave it to the male species to think they really know what a we women feel and know. Issa knows darn well that if a woman or two were on the panal, this would show how out of touch he really is with ‘everything’ related to contraceptives. People like him are the reason women continue to struggle just for thier basic rights, like ‘CHOICES’.

To paraphrase Herman Cain, and he said it very well as it relates to ‘Choices’ as it relates to abortion. He said, personally, he does not believe in this and that it is a decision between the woman, and her family, and it is NOT the business of GOVERNMENT and they should stay out of it.

February 21, 2012 at 11:33 am
(3) Nancy Gomez says:

Molly – just wanted you to know I made a contribution to Jerry’s campaign and made a post about it on my facebook page. Thanks for the heads up.

February 22, 2012 at 2:36 am
(4) Christi says:

You have wonderful essays and articles on your site, yet the ads that support you, for the most part, are appalling !

February 22, 2012 at 2:49 am
(5) Sallie says:

So how about we have an all women meeting to decide if men should be able to get Viagra coverage under their health insurance? Oh, wait they already do get it! Nothing we won’t do for them. This country is going backwards. If the right doesn’t want abortions, hello, contraception is what will slow that down. They want everything under the control of the all boys network, just as it used to be. I may never need to make any decision to do or use any of the things available to women now, but it’s no one else’s business! (I’m way past that anyway) When I was young and my husband was in the army, they sure pushed contraception then. It would have cost them! I hope women come out in droves to vote!

February 22, 2012 at 8:06 am
(6) terryberry says:

People like these guys have serious sexual issues. They belong in the dark ages. Women have and continue to make great contributions to our world. These cave men should go live in a cave somewhere.

February 22, 2012 at 8:53 am
(7) Sylvia S. Cutler says:

Santorum and his buddies want women out of the workplace, out of the media, and back in the kitchen. I’m furious! The Republicans are afraid of us. They don’t want us out there. It really is a war between the sexes. It’s a matter of their controlling us, or us controlling them!

We have a strong impact on the economy of this nation, and a strong moral impact on how we behave and how we are treated. Women’s freedom is not to be trifled with. How dare they?

February 22, 2012 at 9:00 am
(8) Sylvia S. Cutler says:

These twerps have no idea how much of an impact woman have on the U.S. economy! If we declared a women’s independence day in which we did not go to work, did not do chores, did not spend money, did not visit stores, banks, gas pumps, or any place of business, and did not make our contribution to the world we live in, they’d soon realize that this nation cannot function without us. I would love to do that on May 2 of every year and let them see what happens when they do not get our cooperation. Such a day would not really damage the economy because if we don’t spend our money one day, we will spend it another. But it would be an example that would show them clearly who and what we are!

February 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm
(9) Aaron Rose says:

So, because Santorum is against the killing of a an unborn human child and doesn’t want taxpayers to be forced to pay for your condoms and birth control pills which goes against their religion, Santorum is anti-women? Makes snese.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.