Missouri Women Reps Ignored in Birth Control Debate

MO Representatives speak up after being ignored in the House.

Edited from the article from JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – Seven female representatives voiced outrage at being ignored for over 2 hours by Republican House leadership during a House floor discussion on a resolution to President Barack Obama’s contraception mandate.

The House debated a resolution (HCR41)  Wednesday that opposed the federal health care mandate. Republican representatives argued that the mandate would impede religious freedom and the federal government should not be involved in religious organizations.

Several women Democrats were not recognized by the Republican presiding officer, Rep. John Diehl, R-St. Louis County, as they stood for several hours at floor microphones to speak on the resolution.

Following afternoon djournment, seven female House members, calling themselves “the Silenced Seven,” held a news conference outside on the Capitol south steps. Democratic members of the group include State Representatives  Susan Carlson, Jeanne Kirkton, Margo McNeal, Stacey Newman and Jill Schupp of St. Louis, Mary Still of Columbia and Independent Tracy McCreery also of St. Louis. The representatives expressed anger by the lack of recognition during the debate, in which they said they believed they have more at stake because they are female and can get pregnant.

At the news conference where they were joined by many of the Minority Caucus in support, the seven said the lack of acknowledgment during the debate was “disrespectful, despicable and a blatant disregard” to women.

They said that this issue is unique to women, and that Republicans should end this “anti-woman agenda.”

“We will not be silenced again, I assure you,” Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis County, said.

Women in the group said they will continue to stand and demand recognition on the chamber floor until they are recognized.

During the chamber debate, many of the Democrats argued that this is a woman’s right issue, not an issue of religious liberty as argued by the Republicans.  Republicans eventually shut down debate over the resolution, stonewalling their Democratic counterparts from further discussing the issue.

The resolution was voted on and adopted by a 114-45 vote. While only one Republican voted in opposition, 12 Democrats joined the other side in favor of the resolution.

Diehl said he was not available for comment.

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