Transcript: Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton accuses Republicans of exploiting religion to deny women access to reproductive health care


Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). SOURCE:

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

Transcript of remarks by Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.):

“Thank you very much, Leader [Nancy] Pelosi.

“Yes, I have a vote in this committee, and I called for a vote when women – our witness, Sandra Fluke was excluded.

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

“It’s important to remember how the hearing occurred in the first place. The hearing arose out of a controversy that had two sides – two compelling sides – religious liberty and reproductive freedom.

“By the time the hearing had been called, we are fortunate that the administration had worked a compromise that in fact allows women to receive their contraceptive insurance while at the same time recognizing the religious concerns of religiously-affiliated institutions, such as universities and hospitals, who under the accommodation do not have to pay at all for contraceptives, which are now to be received through the insurance company, and have no involvement with contraceptives.

“This is very important to bear in mind, because in my more than 20 years in the House of Representatives I have seldom seen a compromise that worked out a issue of such importance to both sides as favorably as this compromise did.

“The committee appeared to want to exploit the religious side of the issue. By excluding the only witness that the Democrats requested, Sandra Fluke was essentially defined out of last week’s hearing. In defining her out of the hearing and having a hearing about only one side of a clearly two-sided issue, the [Republican] majority managed to defined out most American women.

“The silent majority represented by Sandra Fluke was not at the table last week. I am very pleased, Madam Leader, that you have convened us here so that the concerns of women can be heard through their representative, Sandra Fluke, this morning.”



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