Birth Control, Rush Limbaugh, and the “Slut” Comment

Merely Me Health Guide
  • In a previous post I outlined the political controversy over President Obama’s proposal to provide health care coverage to women for their birth control. There was a compromise made which allowed religious institutions to be exempt for paying for birth control for their employees. Instead, the insurance company would be required to pick up the tab for any woman who was denied coverage by her employer due to religious exemption. One would think that this would be the end of it as in no more debate. Boy was that a wrong assumption to make. Not only is this “controversy” being kept alive, it is being drug thought the dirt and innocent people along with it. Let me remind you that this is over birth control, something that 99% of women who have had sexual relations, have used.

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    To find out more about the current legislation on birth control coverage the New York Times has reported on the most recent changes.


    Enter two new players in this debate:


    1. Rush Limbaugh-Radio talk show host and ultra-conservative commentator. He hosts the Rush Limbaugh Show which is reportedly one of the highest rated talk shows on radio in the U.S.


    2. Sandra Fluke-A Georgetown University Law student who spoke before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committe on women's health and contraception to ask that birth control be covered by her employer’s health care plan.


    What was said:


    • You may hear Sandra Fluke’s statement to Congress on C-Span. Fluke makes the case that many women who work for or are students at religious institutions cannot afford contraception and that these women’s reproductive health care needs are not being met. She stresses the dire consequences of not having proper birth control coverage especially when it is for the woman’s physical health (to prevent the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome for example).


    • You can hear Rush Limbaugh’s attack of third year law student Sandra Fluke on ABC World News. For three days Limbaugh says some very outrageous things including calling Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” He even urges her to post videos of all the sex she must be having as a way to pay us back for her contraception.


    • Other pundits got in on the action such as commentator Bill O’Reilly who asked "Let me get this straight, Ms. Fluke, and I'm asking this with all due respect," he said. "You want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex?"


    • President Obama has called Sandra Fluke this past Friday to thank her for speaking out about the concerns of American women and to tell her parents that they should be proud of her.


    The Aftermath


    On Saturday Rush Limbaugh apologizes to Sandra Fluke on his website: "For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week," wrote Limbaugh. "In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke."


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    Oh now we get it. Humor. Right. So this makes up for calling this young woman a slut and a prostitute?


    Some people aren’t buying the apology and Rush Limbaugh is losing sponsors rapidly.


    The latest from the Chicago Tribune is that as many as seven major advertisers have pulled their ads from his show.  Since the time I wrote this (yesterday evening) an 8th sponsor has dropped out, AOL. 


    Limbaugh’s words could have a lasting and damaging effect on Republican supporters and some politicians are backing away from the radio show pundit. For example John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, and usual ally of Limbaugh, denounced the “slut” remark as inappropriate.  Even Republican presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, said Limbaugh’s remarks were “absurd.” Others who condemned the attack on Sandra Fluke include Georgetown University President, John J. DeGioia who described Limbaugh’s words as misogynistic and vitriolic.


    And judging by the flood of comments from both women and men on sites such as MSNBC Limbaugh’s inflammatory rhetoric has incited many to feel that there is a current culture war being waged against women. There are a lot of people who are not in any hurry to accept Limbaugh’s apology.


    Some facts about birth control some folk may be missing


    In addition to preventing pregnancy birth control pills are used to treat a variety of women’s medical health issues including:


    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome




    • Amenorrhea (lack of periods) from stress, eating disorders, or damage to the ovaries from chemotherapy


    • Painful or heavy periods



    • Prevention of ovarian cysts


    • Regulating irregular periods


    Some of these medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis, if left untreated, can lead to infertility or worse.


    If some politicians have their way, the coverage of birth control could be denied regardless of reason. If you are a woman your reproductive rights and gynecological health care may be at stake in the upcoming presidential election. Know the facts. Know where the candidates stand on this very important issue.


    We would like to hear your thoughts on this latest news. What do you think of Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke? Do you think that his apology goes far enough to make up for his slurs against this young woman? Do you think that this issue will be resolved before the next presidential election? Your opinions are important to us. We want to hear them!

Published On: March 05, 2012