Democratic members walk out of contraception hearing
Two Democratic members of the US House of Representatives have walked out of a hearing about contraception in protest at the chairman’s refusal to allow a woman to testify.
Democratic Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Eleanor Holmes Norton left a hearing of the House Oversight Committee, after the chairman, Republican Darrell Issa, refused to allow a female college student to testify.
The hearing is looking into a regulation introduced by the Obama administration, compelling employers and health insurers to provide contraceptive coverage.
The first batch of witnesses were all male religious leaders opposed to the new rule.
Democratic Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings requested that college student Sandra Fluke be allowed to put the case for greater coverage.
Issa said that, as a college student, Ms Fluke did not have the ‘appropriate credentials’ to testify in front of his hearing.
He added the hearing ‘was not about reproductive rights and contraception but about the Administration’s actions as they related to freedom of religion and conscience’.
Holmes Norton said she would not return, calling Issa’s chairmanship an ‘autocratic regime’.