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Congresswoman DeGette, thanks very much for your time. It`s nice to
have you here.
REP. DIANA DEGETTE (D), COLORADO: It`s great to be back, Rachel.
MADDOW: Let me ask you to respond to that last question. Do you
think these lawsuits around access to birth control for women, do you think
that that puts the birth control debate back on the table in a national
DEGETTE: Well, I don`t think the birth control debate has left the
national debate. I`ve been in congress 16 years now. We`ve been debating
birth control, federal employees access to birth control, different state
Medicaid access to birth control, all kinds of things for the entire 16
years I`ve been in Congress.
This lawsuit just shows that the Catholic Church is tone deaf to the
fact that 98 percent of their female members have used birth control at
some point in their lives and really that the president`s policy does
nothing to infringe on religion.
So, I think that birth control is going to be an issue all the way up
to the November election.
MADDOW: On the issue of Republican policy on this issue, writ large,
the Republicans in the House today unveiled their women`s policy committee,
which actually doesn`t have anything to do with policy. It does show that
there are roughly two dozen Republican women in the House caucus.
Do you think that the formation of a women`s group for Republican
female members of the Congress could potentially in the future have an
affect on policy, or is this just about showing personnel rather than what
those personnel like to work on?
DEGETTE: Well, you know, you hit the nail on the head. It`s 2012.
These two dozen Republican women, they don`t have any different views.
They apparently don`t support equal pay for equal work. Most of them voted
against the reauthorization of the violence -- the good Violence Against
Women Act bill, the progressive one last week.
And, really, in this day and age, do we really need a ladies auxiliary
in Congress? Because that`s what it feels like to me. What it feels like
to me is the Republican leadership is saying, OK, we`ve got these gals in
here and look, here are they are, and they`re going to vote for the same
anti-women policies that we`re putting forward.
That certainly is not going to make women in my state or women across
the country think that just because there are women in Congress, that`s
going to make the policies that they support any better for women and
MADDOW: We have seen a dynamic in the Senate in a small way, but I
think it`s real when some female members of the Senate -- women Republican
senators have spoken out on issues affecting women`s policy. Lisa
Murkowski voted with her male Republican colleagues on the Blunt-Rubio
amendment, went home and changed her mind and was very spoken, said she
regretted her vote and talked openly, including in the media, about why
that was wrong and how Republicans were screwing that up.
And I felt like maybe Republican women in the Senate are going to make
a difference. Is there any dynamic like that in the House at all?
DEGETTE: There are a few Republican women in the House. I`ve worked
closely with them over the years who do believe in birth control.
But many of the newer members, the newer Republican female members in
the House, they adhere to the Tea Party position. They believe a lot of
the same extreme views that the rest of the Tea Party members in the House
That`s why you saw, for example, 22 of the 24 of them voting for a
very restrictive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that
would have taken us backwards.
So, there are some in fact House but unfortunately not enough.
MADDOW: Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado co-chair of
the Pro-Choice Caucus -- thank you very much for joining us tonight. It`s
nice to have you here, ma`am.
DEGETTE: It`s great to be with you, Rachel. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. There was some history made this week that you
might not have heard about because it made no headlines. It was history
but it didn`t make news. That under-covered and important story is our
final story tonight. That`s ahead.
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