House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was one of the most outspoken critics of last week’s House hearing on birth control that included no women. She beat Jon Stewart to the punch in ripping the hearing, and added “If you need to know more, tune in, I may, I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues.”
This week, she’s making good on the threat. Politico reports that today Pelosi held an unofficial hearing on the matter of the House’s hearing last week.
Pelosi “convened the unofficial hearing of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in response to last week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing which featured an all-male panel to discuss the new contraceptive coverage rule,” wrote Politico.
This hearing involved just one witness: Sandra Fluke, the woman who was barred from last week’s House hearing. Ms. Fluke, who is a law student and formerly the president of a group called Law Students for Reproductive Justice, was told told she had no place in the hearing led by Rep. Darrell Issa, because although it addressing women’s access to birth control it claimed to be primarily about religious freedom, and Ms. Fluke doesn’t represent a religious organization.
At Pelosi’s unofficial hearing on Thursday, however, she said she should have been qualified to speak at any hearing on women’s access to birth control. “I’m an American woman who uses contraception. That makes me qualified,” she said.
More to the point, she noted that Georgetown University, where she attends law school, is a Jesuit University and does not cover contraception, and that the out-of-pocket cost for birth control over her three years in school could be as much as $3,000.
So though she may not be a spokesperson for a religious institution, she is directly affected by the religious institutions’ exemption from having to provide birth control in their coverage. That this didn’t qualify her to participate in the House’s hearing on how birth control access is affected by such institutions is absolutely insane.