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Posted at 09:15 AM ET, 02/23/2012

What’s Sandra Fluke got to do with the contraception religious exemption?

Sandra Fluke , the Georgetown Law student whose friend lost an ovary because she couldn’t afford birth control pills that weren’t covered by her insurance plan, has for weeks been the Democrats’ designated poster woman.

Her case is supposed to argue against granting any religious exemption to the health reform law mandate of insurance coverage that includes free contraception. Fluke will finally get to testify Thursday morning, at a hearing convened by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Most of the conversation about this hearing , and Fluke’s testimony focused on the “censorship” of the Republicans, and their refusal to televise her testimony.

But my question has always been: What does Fluke have to do with the current argument about religious exemptions? As a student, rather than an employee, she wouldn’t currently be covered under the mandate required by the Affordable Care Act anyway, with or without the religious exemption that was the focus of last week’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee.

Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, confirmed that that’s the case. In e-mails, he said: “Fluke’s testimony is focused on this being a women’s health issue and what impact this can have on women’s health. It’s powerful testimony in that regard.’’

“It won’t be clear if the revised Obama rule will have anything to do with student health plans until the final revised rule is issued in the future. The Administration will be reaching out to religiously affiliated institutions in developing the final revised rule.”

“The final revised rule is clearly going to be focused primarily on religiously affiliated institutions as employers, but it also might deal with situations involving religiously affiliated institutions and student health plans.’’ We “won’t know until the final rule is developed.’’

Also unclear: Could Democrats not find an employee of a religiously-affiliated institution who had a friend who had suffered medically for lack of contraception coverage?

Melinda Henneberger is a Post political writer and anchors ‘She the People.’ Follow her on Twitter at @MelindaDC.

By  |  09:15 AM ET, 02/23/2012

Tags:  Sandra Fluke, Nancy Pelosi, contraceptive mandate, religious liberty, religious exemption

 
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