The 10 Worst Things About Rep. Darrell Issa’s Panel and the Contraception Debate

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Feb. 17 2012 1:38 PM

The 10 Worst Things About Rep. Darrell Issa’s Panel and the Contraception Debate

A woman holds prescription contraceptives

Photo by Tim Matsui/Getty Images.

Yesterday, Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, held a hearing on the recent debate over contraception and health insurance. Here are just 10 of the many lowlights of that hearing and the larger political debate on this issue:

1. Catholic Bishop William Lori’s analogy at the GOP hearing comparing the requirement that insurers provide contraception to a law requiring Kosher delis to serve pork.


2. Issa’s decision not to allow a Georgetown Law School student to testify at a hearing about access to contraception on the grounds that religious liberty, not access to contraception, was the subject of hearing dealing with access to contraception.

3. Chairman Issa’s comparing his work to prevent women from having access to contraception to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

4. Chairman Issa’s decision to hold hearing on whether contraception rule violates religious liberty but only inviting people to testify who already believe said rule violates religious liberty.

5. Having to repeatedly point out that Justice Scalia is completely right that the government not including religious exemptions in generally applicable laws does not violate the Constitution and does not threaten religious freedom.

6. Having to watch a mostly male group of religious zealots try to impose 19th-century views on contraception on American women and girls.

7. Having to repeatedly point out that almost 50 years ago the Supreme Court, made up of all men, ruled that the use of contraception is a fundamental right protected by at least five provisions of the United States Constitution.

8. Watching alleged people of faith use the rhetoric of religious liberty and freedom solely to achieve their political goal of defeating President Obama.

9. Hearing Rick Santorum compare President Obama’s desire to ensure access to contraception to the use of the “guillotine” in 18th-century France.

10. Watching my hard-earned tax dollars fund a religious rally on government property run by a person who doesn’t see the cruel irony of holding a hearing on “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State” and then only inviting true believers of two faiths to testify.

Eric Segall is a professor of constitutional law at Georgia State University College of Law and a former trial attorney for the Justice Department. He is the author of the forthcoming book Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court is Not a Court and Its Justices Are Not Judges. He tweets at @espinsegall



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