KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Woman Barred From House Contraception Hearing Testifies At Dems’ Event

A woman barred by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, R- Calif., last week from testifying at a hearing on contraception and religion starred in a House Democratic hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, saying women are "energized" on the contraception issue. 

NPR Shots Blog: Law Student Makes Case For Contraceptive Coverage
Congress is in recess this week, but that didn't stop House Democrats from holding a hearing to take testimony from a Georgetown law student who was barred from testifying in last week's hearing about President Obama's policy on contraceptives, health insurance and religiously affiliated organizations (Rovner, 2/23).

The Associated Press: Democrats Hear From Woman Snubbed By GOP Lawmakers
Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke was given her chance to talk to Congress Thursday, even though lawmakers were on a break and just a few Democratic allies were there to cheer her on. But what a difference a week makes. ... This week she received almost rock-star treatment as the lone witness at an unofficial Democratic-sponsored hearing. While the rest of the Capitol was mostly empty, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, three other Democrats and dozens of mainly young women supporters crowded into a House office building room to applaud Fluke as she spoke of the importance of reproductive health care to women (Abrams, 2/23).

The Hill: Pelosi Hits GOP At Contraception Hearing
House Democrats kept pressing their case on contraception Thursday, using a hearing on the issue to hammer the GOP and frame the debate around women's health. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) organized the hearing after an Oversight Committee panel last week did not include any female witnesses who support the White House’s order requiring employers and insurance companies to cover birth control (Baker, 2/23).

National Journal: 'Women Are Energized,' Witness Tells Contraception Hearing
Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, barred last week  by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on contraception and religion that featured a shouting match, got her moment in the sun on Thursday at a hearing replete with activists and capped off by a standing ovation. "Many women in this country are energized about this issue," Fluke told the hearing called by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday morning (Sanger-Katz, 2/23).

Meanwhile, women's issues could play a big role in this year's election —

San Francisco Chronicle: Boxer: Birth Control Debate Will Help Elect Women
Two decades after U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer became a symbol of the "Year of the Woman" in Congress, the California Democrat is predicting that this year may see a repeat of woman-fueled political victories in response to the Republican Party's approach to birth control. "The Republicans' hostility to women's health is having a ripple effect across this land," Boxer said Thursday at a news conference in San Francisco. "I think we're in for another 'Year of the Woman.' I really do," she said (Marinucci, 2/24).

NBC (Video): Why Birth Control Is Pushing Political Buttons
Birth control was the boo-eliciting buzz word during Wednesday night's Republican debates in Mesa, Arizona — a hot-button topic that brought to the fore political and gender differences on the debate over contraception. ... But political experts say the GOP presidential hopefuls will have to navigate the culture wars carefully if they want to avoid alienating moderate women voters. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University showed that 54 percent of Americans approve and 38 percent disapprove of the president's compromise on health insurance coverage for employees of religious institutions seeking birth control. Women approved the president's move 56 to 36 percent, the poll showed (Abdullah, 2/23).

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