Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 20, 2014

Monkeys, Shellfish, Girl Scouts, Oh My!

It took us about a day to process, but we at HOH think we’ve now got the gist of the House Judiciary Committee’s Tuesday hearing, which concerned itself with birth control, monkey abortions, red wine, shellfish and Girl Scout cookies.

In a hearing titled “Executive Overreach: The [Department of Health and Human Services] Mandate Versus Religious Liberty,” the Judiciary Committee’s members and several witnesses provided us with some magical moments.

The first moment of earnest wackiness came from Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.

In her testimony, she referred to a “study involving ulipristal’s action in macaques [monkeys], four out of five fetuses were aborted.”

Ulipristal acetate is an emergency contraceptive. And macaques? Isn’t that the word that got former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) in trouble on the campaign trail in 2006?

Anyway. That covers the monkey abortion part of the hearing.

Then, in an exchange with Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Asma Uddin, an attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, explained some of her concerns surrounding HHS’ recent rule about contraception coverage mandates.

“If the government mandated everything that had positive health benefits, it could possibly mandate that everyone drink red wine for heart health even though it violates the religious beliefs of Muslims,” she said. “And it could mandate that everyone eat shellfish, even though that violates the religious beliefs of Jews.”

Texas Rep. Ted Poe (R) got nervous and asked whether the government could make citizens eat pork instead of beef. This could theoretically be to the detriment of Texas cattlemen.

Proceeding with the culinary angle, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) brandished a box of Thin Mints and asked Monahan if she was anti-Girl Scout cookies.

“I love Thin Mints, Girl Scout cookies,” Johnson said. “What’s your gripe about Girl Scout cookies?”

Monahan said she didn’t understand the question.

“Your organization has sponsored a prayer vigil,” Johnson explained, “to stop people from buying Girl Scout cookies because you allege Girl Scout cookies is affiliated with Planned Parenthood, isn’t that correct?”

Monahan didn’t answer.

Finally, in what we assume was an effort to make the religious community feel welcome, Judiciary ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) wore his Christmas tie throughout the hearing!

We think that’s it.

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