Sen. Gillibrand: What Gives Men Exclusive Right To Decide The Issue?

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — There were protests on Capitol Hill on Friday from female lawmakers about the all-male panel of witnesses called to testify about what they believe is the Obama administration’s violation of religious freedom.

The lawmakers said it’s a women’s rights issue, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

They didn’t know that when they came to Capitol Hill to express concerns about religious freedom it would be a picture worth thousands and thousands of words.

“Where are the women? When I look at this panel I don’t see a single woman,” New York. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said.

It was a refrain taken up by a number of senators on Friday, each posing next to a picture of the male religious leaders testifying.

“Not one woman is seated at this table,” New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said.

“Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more dumbfounded by the debate around here, in terms of denying access to women’s health services, there was a hearing and all of the witnesses were male,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said.

It was just the latest go-round in the increasingly intense battle over President Barack Obama’s policy forcing religious organizations to have their insurance companies provide birth control, morning after pills and other contraception services to their employees.

The female lawmakers say the issue is women’s rights, religious leaders don’t see it that way.

“The administration impedes religious liberty by unilaterally redefining what it means to be religious,” said Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of the Strauss Center Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University.

The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue doesn’t deny that women have a say in contraception.

“But the first and foremost issue on the table is the First Amendment right to religious liberty that trumps every other issue,” Donohue said.

The following is his analogy:

“If the government came and tried to shut down your broadcast today would that be a media issue? Would that be a political issue? But what would it really be? It would be a First Amendment issue of freedom of speech,” Donohue said.

“When will they get this simple non-debatable fact? The power to decide whether or not a woman will use contraception lays with her, not her boss,” Sen. Gillibrand said.

This debate is far from over. Sources told CBS 2’s Kramer that when Timothy Dolan returns from Rome after he gets his cardinal’s red hat he will personally decide what next steps the church should take.

There is already one court suit and there could be others.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

Comments (23)
  1. getagrip says:

    this is not about free birth control.. this is about it being covered by insurance just like viagra now is. and since when are ‘religious issues’ for men only?? looks like sharia law american style …

  2. lieutenantdan says:

    Catholic bashing.
    If one would start to look into other religions they would find the same problems but our press lives to destroy Catholics.

  3. lieutenantdan says:

    It appears that everything is a woman’s right issue these days as long as it pleases women.
    Women must understand that decisions effect everyone and not just women.
    Try keeping your legs closed that is the best form of contraception.

    1. getagrip says:

      when decisions affect everyone women must be included in order for the decisions to lawfully hold women to them. (keep you pants zipped bucko)

  4. The Realist says:

    Isn’t anybody wondering why a panel on “women’s health” has NO WOMEN and NO HEALTH EXPERTS?

  5. OhGosch says:

    This isn’t really about contraception. It’s about someone else telling us what we have to do or not do. Contraception is cheap, buy you own.

    Even a private employer shouldn’t be forced to violate his conscience.
    Encroachment, encroachment one little step at a time. Eventually liberty is gone.

    No one has the right to tell what you must buy or provide for yourself or anyone else.

  6. mark p says:

    I was once a practicing Roman Catholic ,,, many issues, including the pedophile Priest scandal, made me leave In all the years I was in active Lay MInistry with the RCC, I did not agree with 98% of their man made laws, contraception included. These days, parents cannot afford to bring scores of children into this world. Rome is too blind to see reality. Women need to have the choice of contraception to PREVENT unwanted pregnancies.

    Guess I better get ready to be excommunicated. BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Sandi Burns says:

      I too was once a practicing RC but no longer. I can think and reason and do not operate on fear and lack of thought and compassion. I still know Jesus, just don’t need the Church as my go-between!

  7. Rosie says:

    So, what would happen if insurance companies refused to pay for drugs and treatment for erectile dysfunction? I’ve never understood why it was OK for male reproductive issues to be covered, yet avoiding the consequences for women is not covered. I.e, men must have sex, but women have to bear the consequences. For those taking the religious high-road, if God meant for a woman to be pregnant, then it must be God’s will for her not to be pregnant because of her husband’s problems.

  8. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx says:

    Let the animals breed I make money off them and so does the government

    1. shakil says:

      Hey, just follow my website, i think your problem is finish now 婚期 占い

  9. Rodin says:

    Stop the pandering. Tax churches and religious institutions.

    Free of religion, good without gØds.

  10. Rennie says:

    No skirt-wearing pederast protector has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. And 98% of Catholic women apparently agree with me. Get with it, Catholic Church, or you won’t last another two hundred years, let alone another two thousand.

  11. susan says:

    2 comments i left here were not posted..i did the 2nd one because the first one was not shown..neither were remarks nor language that could not appear on this website..i am a college educated person who can read and write,so i take offense at comments were truthful remarks with regard to this article and being raised a catholic myself..i can understand you screening for inappropriate language or extremely derogatory comment, but mine were neither of the not ask for comments if you screen out appropriate remarks and allow others that are not so!!

  12. Abner says:

    No one is stopping anyone from being religious. And if these guy are against birth control, shouldn’t they have a few hunded children beween them.

  13. mikey says:

    “Where are the women? When I look at this panel I don’t see a single woman,” New York. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said.”

    For sure, and where are the real men, who should be standing along side standing along side of the women in their lives during this phoney GOP religous outrage and assualt on America’s women heath and other issues.

    It has been said that there are Sins of Commission and Sins of Omission and it appears to me that the GOP their religous lunatic friends are most intent on committing every single one of them

  14. Holly Could says:

    IF men carried babies and had accidents in the bedroom with unwished for
    pregnancies happening abortion services would be in every town 24/7.
    The conservatives only see females by their ovaries ,strong women are
    called liberals or lesbians. Whatever this assures Obama of another great
    run for President,then perhaps Michelle can run after Bam’s time is through.

  15. Bishop Len Brennan says:

    More lib BS…… If you get Health Insurance from any Church based organization you can go to one of the plans Doctors and ask for a Birth Control Prescription.. you take it down the Pharmacy and pay for it, and you will get it…..this is all about FREE, not access. Libs keep running around saying “98% of Catholic women use Birth Control!!” well if that’s true that means they already have access now doesn’t it? What they don’t have is a freebie!

    1. getagrip says:

      this is about birth control being available thru health insurance just like viagra…

  16. RW says:

    Well your report is wrong again there was females in the hearing. But typical of the Clear Barak Station

    1. KPMc says:

      What are you talking about? They are talking about the “expert” panel. It is all men. No one said women weren’t allowed into the hearing.

      Does it hurt your brain to be that ill informed and ignorant or is the saying true and ignorance bliss?

      1. The Realist says:

        Go back and actually read the article. THE PANEL ITSELF — a panel on “women’s health” — had NO WOMEN and NO HEALTH EXPERTS.


    Forgive me if I am confused? The Catholic Church and its conservative backers do not want to include the birth control option as part of any health care plan offered to its employees. They base this denial on religious doctrine, beliefs and conscience. Where in religious doctrines, beliefs and conscience is the justification for actively protecting PEDOFILE PRIESTS? They are secretly moved to other dioceses and should the church lose a legal case involving a monetary penalty, they declare bamkruptcy to avoid paying the consequences?

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