Last week Rush Limbaugh not only called Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” and a “prostitute”, he effectively called all women who use or have used contraception “sluts” and “prostitutes”. While the conservatives have, for the most part, stayed out of Rush’s way, they have also given him permission to say and do what ever he wants with no consequences. Just like children need discipline and rules by which to follow and consequences to their actions for stepping outside those boundaries, so do adults. The conservatives have allowed Rush to speak for too long and now he has become, essentially, like a spoiled child that apologizes because he has to, not because he believes he was wrong.
Too Little Too Late
David Frum, CNN contributor and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, called it the “most graceless apology ever.” And Rush himself said that he was only concerned about his bottom line – meaning he wasn’t apologizing because he was sorry, but because his pocketbook was going be affected negatively. As it is, his apology didn’t stop advertisers from pulling out. As it stands now nine advertisers have yanked ads: in California, a regional mattress chain Sleep Train and national advertisers Quicken Loans, Citrix, Sleep Number, Proflowers.com, Carbonite, AOL, and Legal Zoom. Quicken Loans’ sister, Cleveland Cavaliers have pulled spots from Limbaugh’s show on Clear Channel Talk WTAM-A/CLEVELAND, which happens to be the team’s flagship station, according to WTAM, citing Talking Points Memo. Most recently, Michael Rozbruch of Taz Resoultion Services tweeted: “We have decided to join other advertisers and suspend our sponsorship of The RUSH LIMBAUGH Show.”
This time Rush crossed not just political boundaries between conservative and liberal, he also managed to cross racial, socioeconomic, age, and religious beliefs across the board. Women fall into all these categories and he has offended them all. It goes to show the ignorant perspective of men on women and their needs. There are many reasons why a woman may be on some form of contraceptive that is unrelated to contraception entirely.
Medical Reasons for Contraception
Here is a list of medical reasons why a woman would be using contraception for purposes other than contraception:
- Breast Pain
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Functional Ovarian Cysts
- Ovarian or Endometrial Cancer
- Premenstrual Syndrome (yes, this is a real medical diagnosis)
- Uterine Fibroid Tumors
- Iron Deficiency Anemia
Men, though intellectually capable of understanding these needs, very rarely do. And for the most part, can’t. For men to cite “religious” morality for reasons of imposing irresponsible behavior onto women is ridiculous. Women should have the right and ability to protect themselves and to ease the issues of menstruation and other medical issues that contraception can provide.
Is “free” Really the Issue?
While I may particularly disagree with Sandra Fluke’s position on why contraception should be available through health insurance (and not necessarily free, but as a co-pay like other Rx’s) I do agree that it should be made available by health insurance companies. However, for Rush Limbaugh to say that he and every American would be forced to pay for it through premiums, what do they think medicaid is? I find it interesting that for the past 25 years or so sex education has been drilled into adolescents. However, now that women are fighting for and demanding coverage for such things “not meant for the public arena” as Rush stated in his monologue about Sandra Flukes desire to have this coverage, we find that some men are outraged by such ambition. Women out number men by 1.6% in the United States, and out number men ages 30-65 in the labor force. It would seem then, that the majority of people paying the premiums for this coverage would be those who are going to benefit from it.
While the discussion of sex, sex education, and sexual habits may be offensive or outside of some belief systems, for others it is not. Many condemn women for standing up for their sexual health, and yet, when teen pregnancy, STD’s, and abortions are on the rise, some groups say not enough is being done. It is imperative to teach sex education and sexual health – including abstinence. But it would be naive to believe that abstinence is the answer. While it is certainly the better route for the reasons listed above, it is not enough. People, regardless of faith or morality, will continue to have sex outside the bounds of marriage. The least we can do as a society is to equip society, namely women, with the resources that allow them to make educated and responsible choices about whether or not to have sex and how to best protect themselves if they decide to engage in such activities – this includes providing contraception through insurance to women.