Now this may seem odd to those who live in the “real world," but in this alternate reality, it makes perfectly good sense that a bunch of middle-aged men devoid of ovaries and uteruses would be experts on women’s reproductive health.
In this alternate universe you wouldn’t dare ask a woman to testify on women’s health and what it means to be a woman. You wouldn’t invite them to talk about what it means to be susceptible to pregnancy for approximately thirty years of your life and how important birth control is to women who wish to prevent unintended pregnancies. And you surely wouldn’t ask a woman to testify about how birth control has helped them prevent various diseases.
While it would be nice to believe we are in the Twilight Zone, the recent ploys of Republicans against women’s health are all too real.
In reality, this hearing did take place, and House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) did block the testimony of women. Women like Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke who would later testify during a special hearing convened by Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of fellow female students at Georgetown University who had been denied contraceptive coverage because of the university’s Catholic affiliation. One friend experienced complications stemming from ovarian cysts that could have been treated with birth control pills. Sadly, due to non-treatment, doctors were forced to remove her ovary.
There are many stories like this that need to be told. But sadly, you won’t hear them on Capitol Hill if my Republican colleagues have anything to do with it. They are too busy silencing women’s voices on these very critical issues.
What if the hearing that was held was on access to Viagra or vasectomies– with the panel of experts being a group of six women? Could you imagine the outrage if women were allowed to legislate what happens to men’s bodies? The horror!
In a few states we have seen some proposed bills that attempt to draw attention to the absurdity of men trying to legislate women bodies. In Georgia, Democratic state Rep. Yasmin Neal introduced HB 1116, which would prevent men from vasectomies unless needed to avert serious injury or death. The bill states, "It is patently unfair that men avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly ... It is the purpose of the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men in this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men." Additionally, Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson added -- then withdrew -- a provision to an anti-abortion bill that read "any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child."
There are many other bills like this, but they were dismissed as fodder. Yet the war on women’s health continues to grow, even seeping its way into the rhetoric of many of the Republican presidential candidates.
Sadly, this Twilight Zone is real. This attack on women’s health is real, but this battle is not over. We cannot and will not allow a few to silence the voices of millions of women across this country. We must continue to stand up for women and their reproductive health.
Rep. Moore (D-Wis.) is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services.