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Michele Bachmann: GOP Is Not Against Women

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Rep. Michele Bachmann disputed arguments today that Republicans are “anti-woman,” particularly in their witness selection at a contraception hearing in the House last week.

“There is no anti-woman movement whatsoever,” Bachmann told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The Republican Party is extremely pro-woman.”

The Minnesota Republican and former presidential candidate said the Obama administration’s decision to require insurance companies to provide contraception services for free to religious employers infringed on employers’ rights.

“What we saw was President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, which is Obamacare ... [which now] means that one individual, the president of the United States, has unprecedented, breathtaking authority” over health care.

The Obama administration announced in late January that it would require religiously affiliated institutions, like hospitals and charities, to provide contraception in their insurance policies. Congressional Republicans, Republican presidential candidates and major religious groups immediately fought back, saying the mandate infringed on religious freedoms for those whose faiths reject birth control.

Attempting to mollify those concerns, the administration modified the rule to require insurance companies to provide contraception free of charge to employees of faith-based organizations that refuse to provide the coverage.

Republicans continue to reject even that compromise, however, and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday held a hearing asking whether the Obama administration “trampled on freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”

The first of two panels to testify included no women, which female Democratic lawmakers in both chambers called exclusionary and offensive.

On “Fox News Sunday,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the issue is “a question of religious freedom” and vowed to help undo the decision.

“I don’t think Barack Obama and his administration know more about the Catholic faith than the Catholic Church does,” the Virginia Republican said. “We’re going to do everything we can to restore the religious freedom of this country. For over 200 years it’s been working, why all of a sudden do we need this?”

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