by Randi Rhodes
posted Feb 17 2012 4:12PM
Yesterday House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) held a hearing on contraception without any women witnesses. That’s because, to Darrell Issa, women aren’t the witnesses in this proceeding—they’re the defendants. Republicans claimed there were no women witnesses because the hearings weren’t about women’s reproductive health, they were about religious freedom. So you’re saying women have nothing to do with religion? That’s hardly better—just less starkly ironic. Before leaving the hearing in protest, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), asked “Where are the women?” That’s not a question that ever occurs to conservative men... unless they’re at a function where they expect there are going to be strippers.
It’s not just that Darrell Issa would be willing to hold a hearing about contraception that included no women. It’s also that it wouldn’t even occur to him that that might not look so good. Hello! It’s a hearing by the Committee on Oversight! At least try to avoid any major oversights in putting it together! Darrell Issa was right about one thing—this wasn’t a hearing about women’s reproductive health... it was a hearing about undermining women’s reproductive health.
No matter how hard the Republicans in Washington are working at undermining women’s reproductive health, they’re still miles behind the Republicans in statehouses across the country. A law passed by the Virginia legislature requires any woman seeking an abortion to submit to a trans-vaginal ultrasound. If that sounds frightening, that’s exactly the point. Not surprisingly, a “trans-vaginal ultrasound” requires penetration of a woman’s vagina... with an implement that looks like it’s a prop from one of the Star Wars movies. Critics call the law “state-sanctioned rape.” That’s not strictly accurate—it’s actually “state-mandated rape.” At the same time that Virginia is proposing the state-mandated rape bill, another bill defines a fertilized egg as a “person.” Put the two bills together, and in Virginia, a fertilized egg is more of a person than a woman. If Virginia succeeds in essentially stripping all of its female residents of personhood, I suggest that Virginia shouldn’t be allowed to count women residents for purposes of determining the number of Representatives the state gets.