Standard issue with birth control pills?

Yesterday marked the first day of Women’s History Month. And as we noted for our readers, Rush Limbaugh began his celebrations a day early by calling Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown Law student who testified before a Congressional committee on the need for access to birth control, a “slut.”

In case you’re in need of a refresher, here’s what Limbaugh had to say of Fluke’s testimony: “What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

Needless to say, people are outraged about Limbaugh’s comments. Because really, who wouldn’t be? Let’s take a look at what Fluke had to say in response….

Fluke was invited to speak about the contraception controversy on the TODAY show, but before we get to her statements, we’re going to offer you some color commentary from one of Fluke’s fellow birth control-using “sluts” — me. I think that what Limbaugh said essentially amounted to an attack on women’s medical rights.

What Limbaugh said was an insult to all women who use any form of contraception, be it for birth control, or any other noncontraceptive, medical purpose. Guess what, Rush? Not all women are using birth control to keep the stork at bay. Some are taking contraceptives to treat dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, metrorrhagia, and polycystic ovarian syndrome — and those are just a few of the many disorders that women must endure throughout their lives. Most men have never heard of these medical ailments, and I’m willing to bet that even more don’t give a damn about them.

And I know that everyone thinks menstruation is “yucky,” “gross,” and “nasty,” and that people like to quickly change the channel when tampon commercials air on television, and that nobody likes to talk about our monthly visitors in polite conversation. But when a woman — a woman who happens to be a law student — is being called a “slut” and a “prostitute” because she chooses to regulate the time of the month that Aunt Flo comes to town, then we’ve got to talk about it.

Fluke’s own school, Georgetown, a Jesuit institution, might not agree with her stance on birth control, but its president, John J. DeGioia, has spoken out against Limbaugh’s vitriol in a email to the entire Georgetown community (available in its entirety on the next page):

In recent days, a law student of Georgetown, Sandra Fluke, offered her testimony regarding the proposed regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services before a group of members of Congress. She was respectful, sincere, and spoke with conviction. She provided a model of civil discourse. This expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people. One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression.

In addition, Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor, joined by 136 other “faculty members and senior administrators of Georgetown University Law Center and other law schools,” strongly condemned the personal attacks Limbaugh made against Fluke.

We’re sure that Fluke appreciates all of the support, but she’s strong enough to stand on her own. In her TODAY show interview, Fluke said that initially, she was stunned, but then became outraged and upset. According to the New York Daily News, however, that won’t stop Fluke from continuing to be an advocate for women’s health care rights:

In a statement on Thursday, the [Fluke] said she would not stop advocating for government access to contraception.

“The millions of American women who have and will continue to speak out in support of women’s health care and access to contraception prove that we will not be silenced,” she said.

What else did Fluke have say during her TODAY show interview? Take a look:

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Readers, what do you think about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, and the contraception controversy that made the rounds on the national news? Feel free to debate this important issue in the comments.


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