POLITICS

Nancy Pelosi Rips GOP Over Birth Control: I May Be 'Moved To Explain Biology To My Colleagues'

02/16/2012 12:13 pm ET | Updated Feb 16, 2012

WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday ripped House Republicans for holding a contentious hearing on birth control that included next to no female witnesses and even prevented one progressive woman from testifying, suggesting that she may need to step in and teach her male GOP colleagues a thing or two about the issue.

"I think it's really curiouser and curiouser that as we get further into this debate, the Republican leadership of this Congress thinks it's appropriate to have a hearing on the subject of women's health and can purposely exclude women from the panel," Pelosi said during a press conference. "What else do you need to know about the subject?"

"If you need to know more, tune in, I may, I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues."

Pelosi's remarks came shortly after three House Democrats walked out of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on religious liberty and birth control in protest of Chairman Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) refusal to allow a woman to testify in favor of the Obama administration's contraception rule. The morning panel at the hearing consisted exclusively of men from conservative religious organizations.

A second panel included two women, but both were critics of Obama's birth control mandate, which does not exempt religiously affiliated employers from having to include contraception in employees' insurance coverage. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) told reporters in the hallway outside the hearing that she marched out because it was being conducted like an "autocratic regime."

"Five men are testifying on women's health," Pelosi said. "Where are the women? Imagine having a panel on women's health and they don't have any women on the panel."

She paused, and then added, "Duh!"

UPDATE: 1:35 p.m. -- Issa spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins later criticized Pelosi for ignoring the fact that two women were scheduled to testify at the hearing.

"Rep. Pelosi is either ill informed or arrogantly dismissive of women who don’t share her views. Today’s hearing does in fact include two women, Dr. Allison Garrett of Oklahoma Christian University and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College Health Services," Watkins said.

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