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Health, Freedom, and the Birth Control Mandate: The Testimony Chairman Issa Didn't Want You to Hear

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Written by Sandra Fluke for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

This testimony was prepared by the author appearing at the February 16th hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on Contraceptive Coverage. However, the Committee Chair, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) did not allow her to speak.  Instead a panel composed of male panel, and one anti-choice female participant

For all our coverage of the 2012 Contraceptive Mandate, click here.

Members of Congress, good morning, and thank you for allowing me to testify. My name is Sandra Fluke, and I'm a third-year student at Georgetown Law, a Jesuit school. I'm also a past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ. I'd like to acknowledge my fellow LSRJ members and allies and thank them for being here today.

Georgetown LSRJ is here today because we're so grateful that this regulation implements the nonpartisan, medical advice of the Institutes of Medicine. I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in student health plans. Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result, employees at religiously-affiliated hospitals and universities across the country have suffered similar burdens. We are all grateful for the new regulation that will meet the critical health care needs of so many women. Simultaneously, the recently announced adjustment addresses any potential conflict with the religious identity of Catholic and Jesuit institutions.

As I have watched national media coverage of this debate, it has been heartbreaking, frankly, to see women's health treated as a political football. When I turn off the TV and look around my campus, I instead see the faces of the women affected, and I have heard more and more of their stories. You see, Georgetown does not cover contraceptives in its student insurance, although it does cover contraceptives for faculty and staff. On a daily basis, I hear from yet another woman who has suffered financial, emotional, and medical burdens because of this lack of contraceptive coverage. And so, I am here to share their voices and ask that you hear them.

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