Limbaugh’s comments this week were directed at Sandra Fluke, who was thrust into the spotlight after Issa would not let her testify at an Oversight hearing about the Obama administration’s new birth-control mandate. Because she wasn’t allowed to testify, no one spoke in support of the policy and the first panel of witnesses was made up entirely of men.
Images of the all-male hearing spread quickly online, launching Democrats’ “Where are the women” mantra. Issa notes in his letter to Cummings that two female witnesses testified on the second panel at the hearing. Both oppose the birth-control mandate.
Issa accused Democrats of spreading “false and incendiary claims” about the hearing, which was centered on the question of whether the contraception policy is an infringement on religious employers’ ability to freely practice their faith.
“Given the demeaning and inflammatory rhetoric of the minority on the subject of religious freedom, I find it incredibly disappointing that you would seek only a narrow denunciation of one set of money that your party is simultaneously trumpeting in an effort to raise campaign funds,” Issa said.
Both parties have used the debate in their fundraising efforts. Democrats have raised more than $1 million off of the issue since Issa’s hearing.
The White House’s contraception policy does not require religious-affiliated employers like Catholic schools to directly cover birth control for their employees. But workers will be able to get birth control from their insurers. Religious groups and many Republicans say the employers will still end up paying for a service they find immoral, because the cost of contraception will be built into insurers’ premiums.
The administration has not figured out how the policy will apply to religious employers that self-insure.
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