Transcript: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says GOP should not silence American women in reproductive health debate

 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) presiding over the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee's hearing on women's reproductive health and access to contraception. SOURCE: C-Span.org

Hearing on women’s reproductive health and contraception before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee held on Feb. 23, 2012

Transcript of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) opening remarks: 

“Good morning, everyone. Our meeting will come to order.

“This is a hearing of the Steering and Policy Committee of the House Democrats.

“It is my honor to be here with our Ranking Member on the Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives, Congressman Elijah Cummings; senior member of the committee, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; and Congresswoman from the District of Columbia and long-term member of the committee, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.


“We’re gathered here today with a very special guest, Ms. Sandra Fluke, who we’ll hear from in a moment.

Read more: Sandra Fluke draws attention to financial & health burdens women suffer without contraceptive coverage

“But first, I want to say that the purpose of this meeting is one that I wish didn’t exist. I wish that in the hearing that was held last week, the Republican majority on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would have heard from Sandra Fluke instead of just hearing a panel of five men.

“Seeing that panel before her, our colleague Congresswoman Maloney put it best asking, ‘Where are the women?’

“Indeed, in this debate, nothing could be more critical than hearing the voices of our nation’s women, and Democrats are prepared to hear from a single witness today, a Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, to testify before the committee. She was invited by the Democrats to be at the panel that was called together last week. But the Republicans did not want to hear from her. And so we do today. We are proud to bring Sandra before our Steering and Policy Committee to deliver the testimony she was denied last week, to stand firm in the cause of women’s health, to no longer be held silent.

“Sandra is a bold and passionate leader for young women and all women at Georgetown and across the country. She understands that this issue that we’re discussing is a matter of women’s health – plain and simple. She has stood in the front lines in this debate at Georgetown University Law, dedicated her time and energy to the battle against – in other issues – human trafficking and domestic violence, and served as the president and secretary of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

“Sandra will continue to serve women and our committee as a leader in the field of public interest law.

“I think it’s important as I yield to distinguished Ranking Member of the committee to inform you, Sandra, that following your rejection by the Republicans from the panel, which the Democrats suggested you as their witness, that we’ve heard from over 300,000 people saying, ‘We want women’s voices to be heard on the subject of women’s health,’ and urging the Republican leadership to make sure that that happens.

“Having no reason to believe that they will, we’re having our own hearing today. I know you will persuade them with your testimony.

“With that, I thank you for joining us this morning and yield to the distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Cummings, and thank him for his leadership and the important role he played in last week’s hearing.”

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