Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh (8th, Tea Party) participated in a Capitol Hill committee meeting Thursday to discuss President Obama's recent contraception deal.
The committee hearings precede an expected vote to block President Obama's policy.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform invited a panel of five men -- including Lutheran and Baptist clergymen, an Orthodox rabbi and a Roman Catholic bishop -- to discuss their feelings on contraception.
At least two female congresswomen walked out of the panel, flabbergasted that no women were included on the first panel to discuss contraception (two women were allowed to testify on a following panel, both of whom oppose contraception legislation).
“Where are the women? It’s outrageous that the Republicans would not allow a single individual representing the tens of millions of women who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health care services, including family planning,” said congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, (D- New York)
Walsh had this quip at the ready:
“This is not about women. This is not about contraceptives. This is about religious freedom,” he said.
Walsh is a strong proponent for constitutionally protected religious freedoms and believes, as do the religious leaders who testified, that requiring religious organizations to provide contraception is a violation of that freedom.
Friday, congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth, who is running in the 8th District Democratic primary and may face Walsh in the general election, issued a statement admonishing Walsh for his views and utterance.
"Contraception is a basic part of women's health care and I am saddened to see yet another important issue become a pawn in the political minefield in Washington. I am shocked by
Congressman Walsh's remarks. To claim that a discussion regarding access to birth
control isn't about women is yet another example of how out of touch he is. The people of the
8th District want someone in Congress who will work to protect their privacy and their
health, not someone who will trade the best interests of women and their families for cheap