NCJW Condemns Biased Congressional Hearing on Religious Liberty and Women’s Health Coverage
February 17, 2011, Washington, DC — The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) condemned yesterday’s one-sided congressional hearing titled “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:
“NCJW is deeply troubled by the biased and offensive hearing about the Obama Administration’s policy on birth control coverage led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. All of the 10 witnesses, all but two of whom were male, were anti contraception. It is outrageous that Rep. Issa — in a virtually unprecedented move — refused to allow testimony from the single witness invited by the committee’s minority, a young women studying at Georgetown University. Contraceptive access is an issue that directly impacts women and families across the country. It is extremely unfortunate that the Chairman excluded the one witness who could have represented the millions of women who use birth control and who welcome affordable access.
“Equally troubling was the attempt by some witnesses to liken the policy on birth control to an imagined mandate that kosher restaurants serve pork. As a Jewish women’s organization committed to the protection of religious freedom and to improving women’s health and well-being, NCJW is offended by such comparisons. Contraception is part of women’s basic, preventive health care. No one has proposed forcing women to use birth control if they are religiously opposed to doing so. The one-sided view of religious liberty presented at the hearing completely ignored the religious liberty rights of women who, NCJW believes, must be able to make their own decisions about health care, guided by their own consciences, faith traditions, or moral views.
“Given the problems facing the nation and the considerable number of unfinished items on Congress’ agenda, it is a shame that the committee opted to stage this biased political theater instead of having a thoughtful, balanced hearing on making health care more affordable for families.”
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.
Contact: Emily Alfano
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