The "Silenced Seven" Say Their Voices Were Ignored at the State Capitol

7 years 11 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, February 22 2012 Feb 22, 2012 Wednesday, February 22, 2012 9:17:00 PM CST February 22, 2012 in News
By: Danielle Carter

Seven female representatives say they felt ignored when waiting to comment on a hot button health issue at the state Capitol.

The representatives are calling themselves the "silenced seven." They say they were ignored in the House today as they stood for two-and-a-half hours waiting to comment on the much-debated birth control resolution.

Resolution 41, which would require health insurers to cover contraceptives without charging a copay, has generated a lot of controversy. Representative Tishaura Jones, the Assistant Minority Floor Leader, says this is not the first time women have been prevented from speaking on issues such as birth control and abortion.

"We've had plenty of bills either about birth control or about abortion where we stand up to try and be recognized and they'll either cut off debate, or they will lay the bill over," Jones said. "So this isn't the first time."

On the other side of the issue, Representative Jay Barnes says it's not a gender discrimination issue, but one of religious discrimination.

"Can the government compel us to do exactly what it wants us to do in every situation, regardless of whether we have deeply held religious beliefs or not?" Barnes asked.

Democrats generally believe this is a women's rights issue, not one of religious liberty.

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