I bet Rush Limbaugh doesn’t get laid very often, unless there’s a secret cult of lascivious ladies I don’t know about with a fetish for pasty, balding misogynists. Judging by the vitriolic furor he unleashed on Georgetown graduate student Sandra Fluke for espousing her views on birth control access, even if he is getting laid, it can’t possibly be that satisfying.
Sandra Fluke was testifying before a Democratic congressional hearing supporting plans to mandate private health insurance plans to cover birth control. Keep in mind these are the same health insurance plans that already cover Viagra. Fluke pointed out that the high cost of oral contraceptives causes financial struggles for 40% of the female students at Georgetown Law, the Jesuit college she attends whose health insurance does not cover oral contraceptives.
Many women are thus forced to sacrifice their prescriptions, even those who are taking oral contraceptives for medical purposes such as reducing cramps or stopping cysts from growing on the ovaries of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Fluke recounts the story of a friend with this condition who lost an ovary because was unable to get her campus insurance to cover the prescription, even with verification from a doctor.
When right-wing conservative blowhard Rush Limbaugh caught wind of Fluke’s testimony, it translated in his pea brain as the words of an immoral, baseless slut who is having so much sex, she simply can’t afford it. So basically, she wants to be paid to have sex, thereby making her a prostitute. In fact, he equates the cost and quantity of the pills as an indication that she must be having “so much sex”, completely missing the fact that in order to be effective, birth control pills must be taken daily, whether you’ve had sex or not.
The story erupted in the media this week, prompting a rare apology from Limbuagh, which Fluke dismissed. In the wake of the scandal, Limbaugh’s show lost at least fifty advertisers, includes AOL, ProFlowers and Quicken Loans. On his Thursday program, 77 of the 86 advertisements were by “free public service announcements donated by the Ad Council”. Furthermore, of the remaining nine ads, seven companies were in the process of pulling their spots, leaving a measly two paid spots. Two radio stations have dropped his program altogether, and here’s to hoping that more follow suit.
Limbaugh claimed Fluke was exercising “no responsibility for her behavior”. Really, because I thought taking oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy was being responsible. Would he rather she get knocked up time and time again, have to go on welfare, and become a drain on the country’s resources not just for herself but also her flock of grubby-faced rugrats? Oh but wait, there is another solution – she could just stop having so much sex. Obviously she must be some type of sex addict though, if she’s having so much sex she can’t afford it. He did propose another solution – if he and all the other taxpayers are forced to pay for contraceptives for all the Sandra Flukes out there, Limbaugh demanded they post their videos online so he can see what he’s paying for.
There are so many things wrong with what he’s saying that I barely even know where to start. This is an educated, well-spoken woman who never once mentioned the quantity of sex she was having. The most heartfelt and hard-hitting part of her testimony was her friend’s story about losing an ovary, which had nothing to do with sex in the first place. She’s a grown woman who is able to make her own decisions about her sexual relations and reproductive freedom. And whether she’s having sex for the first time or doing it hundreds of times a month, it’s her choice and she shouldn’t be meant to feel ashamed because of it.
While it’s refreshing to see the American media waking up to this notion in their condemnation of Limbaugh, it’s sad to know that idiots like him exist in the first place. Apparently his show is the highest-rated rated talk radio show in the States, with about 15 million weekly listeners. He’s no stranger to controversy or scandal, which hasn’t done much to dampen his following in the past. I’m proud of Sandra Fluke for standing up for what she believes in and refusing to back down in the face of a loud-mouthed bully. And I’m also proud to live in Canada, a country where oral contraceptives are 100% covered by some health insurance plans without anyone blinking an eye.
The good people at Think Progress have condensed Limbaugh’s seventy sexist smears against Sandra Fluke into one disturbing, hate-filled video. Warning: it might make your blood boil! Feel free to expel that anger in the comments section below.