Rush’s War on Women is No Fluke

Women’s right to contraception has been challenged by Catholic Bishops and members of Congress who voted on a “Blunt Amendment” allowing employers to deny healthcare, like contraception, that they deem immoral. (The amendment was defeated in the U.S. Senate by a mere three votes!)

When Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke told Congress that contraception should be covered by insurance, Rush Limbaugh called her a whore:

What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], 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. She wants to be paid to have sex… she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them, or the Pope.

If Rush is so vexed at supporting other people’s sex lives, why doesn’t he tackle insurance-covered Viagra too?

By attacking Ms. Fluke as a slut, Limbaugh reveals that he – and other right-wingers — are not concerned with shielding Catholic Bishops’ conscience. No. They seek to control women’s sexuality.

But if Rush can’t limit it, at least he wants to watch (another sort of control). Even as he claims to uphold “conservative values,” he rants:

If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.

Since when were “traditional family values” pro-porn?

Rush is all about silencing women: Be afraid of slut-shaming. Be very afraid!

Men can speak out. And Viagra-infused men can enjoy sexuality. But women must not.

Bishops, and employers more generally, must be free to follow their conscience. But women must follow the conscience of Bishops and their employers.

Conservatives claim to guard individual freedom.

Apparently, women aren’t actual people. They don’t count.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 7, 2012, in feminism, gender, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I’ve actually never listened to Rush Limbaugh’s show before. Though after hearing the controversy of what he said about the girl, it seemed everyone thought this would be his downfall. Majority of his sponsors pulled out and the Republican Party wouldn’t address the situation. He didn’t even apologize, he was forced to and it was the most insincere apology. What an idiot. Other than his comment how can he tell this girl she is a slut? She looked conservative and presented herself with class. Is this proof that all men believe women are sluts regardless of how they act or present themselves? What ignorance.

  2. I only have one comment. Did anyone see Rush’s “apology”?? I cannot think of anything more fake than that, you could even hear in his voice and word choice that he did not mean it at all. His response to the criticisms leveled at him are comprable to how a child would react to such criticisms. Rush Limbaugh is a joke and I hope this is the beginning of the end for him. I believe whole heartedly in free speech but he has abused the first amendment in the worst way. He needs to shut up.

  3. I grew up in Nebraska in a very Christian upbrining and sadly unitl I was my own I did not see the err of my ways. I held those same beliefs (not as vulgar) as Limbaughs but along the same lines. I thought birth control and it’s use was something that promoted sexual promiscuity. It was something that provided “good Christians” with an excuse to do something bad. It is hard not to believe that is the case when one is raised in a culture that literally preaches that. However, after living on my own and actually seeing through my own eyes how necessary birth control and Planned Parenthood is for the health of women in this country I am deeply saddened for the discourse that takes place in this country, because this type of ignorance is actually harmful to women who are only able to afford medical from facilities like Planned Parenthood. I can only hope that the people who share the opinions of Rush Limbaugh and the like will go out and see just exactly who and what the needs are of those who frequent planned parenthood because it’s not what they believe it to be.

  4. Nicole Neufeld

    Rush Limbaugh’s words completely disgusted me. His entire argument is exactly what is wrong in our society today. Lashing out about a topic that he has absolutely no knowledge or say in. Insurance pays for Viagra but he has never called men who want it paid for “sluts” or “prostitutes.” Wouldn’t his logic be the same for Viagra? Men who use it are only using it so they can have sex, while women can use birth control for a variety of reasons. It is completely obvious that Rush just wants to shut a strong woman who has come out to state an opinion that many women agree with down because he is against it. His words are completely ridiculous and appalling and I was very happy to hear that so many of his sponsors backed out because of them.

  5. The use of contraceptives has been argued about ever since the term “birth control” came around. This college student that said contraceptives should be covered by insurance companies was scrutinized for making tax-payers pay for women to have sex. This is beyond absurd. What about married women that have only been with one man their entire life? They shouldn’t be allowed to prevent unwanted pregnancies? Are they considered sluts or whores because their natural instincts want to feel pleasure with the one they love? Every women has the right to use contraceptives or not use them. You don’t see Rush Limbaugh calling men whores for using Viagra. Not only is this a constitutional right for women to use contraceptives as birth control, it has other benefits to. Men wouldn’t understand this, but I started taking birth control at 14 to control my unbearable cramps. I did not take them for any other reason but to help my cramps that were literally keeping me out of school 2 – 3 days a month. On top of regulating monthly periods, birth control does prevent pregnancies. This might just be a good thing since the Earth is already further than over-populated.

  6. I think women bring a lot of the objectification on theirselves. In every sexy ad, or every poster of a woman being submissive to a man, or when women do female stereotypical behaviors on TV, like vacuuming the house or cooking dinner for their husband who comes home after work, there is always one thing that is in common with all of them. Everyone of them has a willing female person who accepts money to be put in those situations. There is always someone available to be represented in a sexual or submissive situation. If women would refuse to do such stereotypical behaviors, maybe they would begin to fade from our culture. Rush was definitely wrong with the words he used against Ms. Fluke, but at the same time much of what was said about the buying of birth control form women seems to cross cultural walls. Religions like Catholicism expect their women and men to follow certain codes of conduct together. A big part of their faith is hinged on the birth control issue. These are things they believe are of God and I don’t think they will be changing them to give out birth control pills to their participants. I think sex is a mutual thing between two people and should remain there. I don’t think everyone, all of which have different views, should be responsible for paying for ALL the birth control needs of our American women. I think people need to be able to talk about their sex lives with one another. Let’s work on education to let women know its ok to talk to their partners before sex. I had a girlfriend actually ask me for the money to buy birth control pills one time because she didn’t have it and that is how everyone should be. If either sex wants to enter into a relationship that might progress into sexual relations they should have the ability to pay for what is needed to fulfill the act. If America wasn’t so accepting of casual sex, there might be less people in need in the first place. Many people have sex, but don’t even know their partners name! Communication people, COMMUNICATION

    • I agree on the need for communication.

      re: “A big part of their faith is hinged on the birth control issue. These are things they believe are of God and I don’t think they will be changing them to give out birth control pills to their participants.”

      Why should women be forced to live according to the beliefs of their employers?

      re: “I think women bring a lot of the objectification on theirselves”

      True. There are a lot of desperate actresses/models out there who will do anything for a job. But mostly women unconsciously internalize the notion that they are sex objects and that is how they’re valued. The only way to get over that is to become aware which enables the possibility of criticizing and changing. Since it is very rewarding, many women will continue.

      Also see Why Do Women Fight Against Their Own Interests?

  7. Although one reason for using birth control is to keep from getting pregnant another reason is to decrease the pain that comes with being on one’s period. That being said, until Rush Limbaugh is the one that has to bear a child and carry it for 9 months or gets his period I believe he should keep his comments to himself.

  8. My favorite response came from Rachel Maddow when she looked directly into the camera and explained to Rush and his ilk that women don’t take one birth control pill for every time they have sex – they only take one pill a day. For three weeks.

    The problem we have here is that the conservatives who are vocal are of low intelligence and their rhetoric is fear-based. They want to put the genie back in the bottle. Women should go back to being second class citizens and should defer to men when it comes to health care, religion and politics.

    The other issue that Rush apparently didn’t look into is the fact that birth control pills are not just for preventing pregnancies: birth control pills can also clear up acne, slow ovarian cysts and other issues that come up. This is not unique in the medical world. I have major depression and I take Lamictal as a mood stabilizer. Lamictal was originally used for epilepsy but researchers and doctors started noticing that it boosted mood as well for those taking it. Should I be denied the right to take a pill that does one thing because it is used primarily for another purpose? Of course, this is why Planned Parenthood is in trouble. One small part of their services threatened every other service in their agenda because of the low intelligence factor of right wing conservatives. They don’t want to know anything that will bring light to the darkened corners of their minds.

  9. I have to agree with Garrett. Limbaugh sounds childish in the extreme. Where does he get the idea that paying for contraceptives immediately means that they are paying women to have sex. I really think that contraceptives should be covered by insurance. I would rather have women have the choice to use it and prevent getting pregnant, than not using it, getting pregnant and perhaps regretting their actions later on in life. It would be cheaper in the long run to have insurance cover birth control if you think about the people who will accidentally get pregnant and will not be able to afford to take care of their child. Contraceptives gives the women a choice to protect herself and giving her the choice to be responsible.

  10. Reading this, I just can’t help but laugh to be honest. I’m laughing because of how stupid, absurd and childish Rush Limbaugh sounds. Making statements like how people who want contraception want to be paid to have sex, or if women use institution paid contraception they should post videos online is reasoning completely out of this world. Reasoning like this and calling a law student a whore, I can’t really understand why things like him can have support. I say things because I can’t really view him or his logic as that of a person.

  11. Rush Limbaugh’s reasoning is ridiculous. First of all, just because Fluke is advocating for contraceptives to be covered in women’s healthcare, doesn’t mean that she is having a ton of sex. Like everyone said before me, birth control can be used for many different reasons to help women. Secondly, NO ONE IS PAYING FOR FLUKE TO HAVE SEX OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS, this was for a private institution’s (Georgetown) health insurance. This is an insurance mandate from the government to cover contraceptives as a part of women’s health. Rush sees Fluke as using tax payer’s money to support her having sex, and then somehow benefiting financially from it? I have no idea how he could possibly call her a prostitute. I am very glad that people are seeing this as a horrible thing, for a media person to attack a woman for supporting financial aid for women suffering from things like ovarian systs and menstral cramps by making insurance cover birth control along with men’s viagra. I have no idea how Rush can refuse to “pay for” women’s birth control, after all that money we spent on his addiction to Oxycontin.

  12. First of all this is the first time I read about Sandra Fluke and about Rush Limbaugh, but just Yesterday I watched a video on YouTube about these woman calling themselves whores and sluts. And now I know why, because of what Rush Limbaugh told Sandra Fluke, a student of Georgetown who is studying law, is a whore, because she wants not just her but other perhaps younger woman to have the right to contraception. But before I go on, I would have liked to know what Sandra Fluke told Rush Limbaugh that lead to her being called a whore. And I don’t agree with Rush Limbaugh, whatever Fluke is doing with her body. If she was a whore that is none of Limbaugh’s business. Limbaugh defines Fluke as a “whore,” but that is not how it is. Fluke just wants women to have free access to birth control such a pills and condoms which she, like a lot of woman, believe should be free to start off. Women aren’t getting “paid to have sex,” but are given the opportunity to have safe sex. What Limbaugh says in the end is just sick, and I wonder what Fluke had to say back?

  13. I believe that people should be able to get access to contraceptives because it is best to practice safe sex. Not all people are going to wait so it is best for them to get birth control because there are a lot of unwanted pregnancies taking place. People would be having less abortions as well. Birth control and other contraceptives should be offered in other nations as well. People should not be ashamed of protecting themselves. Everyone is in control of their own bodies. These politicians do not have the right to tell people what to do with their bodies. Not all people want children so they should be able to focus on their studies, work, and other things. This is another way people try to silence others. Do not let the ignorance get you down.

  14. I believe that birth control should be covered under insurance because teen pregnancy is a real health concern among teens today. I do not believe that the government should promote teenagers to have sex. However, for the very reason they teach sex education and hand out condoms in schools, you cannot prevent teens from having sex, you can only teach them to be responsible. Having a child is a huge responsibility, not only for women, but for men as well. Therefore, having contraception available is beneficial to women and men. Rush Limbaugh’s comment to Fluke is purely ignorant because birth control was introduced in 1964 after the “baby boom” that followed WWII in order to decrease the population size. You are not paying people to have sex, you are paying for people to have the choice of being a parent and being responsible. Jessica Garriga points out that there are other reasons and benefits to using birth control as well.

  15. On one hand, I can see in part why people such as Limbaugh are opposed to birth control coverage. Those such as undergraduate students, who are supposed to focus on intellectual development and personal enhancement, and whose range of daily life activities should not include sex, should not be given free condoms out of taxpayers’ money for recreational sex.

    However, they should consider the bigger picture before they criticize. As Jessica mentioned, nowadays, birth control is used for a number of reasons, such as “[reducing] heavy blood flow and [reducing] intense pain.” It is simply unfair and offensive to call women whores when they demand contraception out of necessity and medical need, but not recreational use.

    Also, it is just ironic and unfair when Viagra has long been insurance-covered when “only twenty-six states have laws that require insurers to provide contraceptive coverage if they have a prescription drug plan, leaving women in twenty-four states without that coverage.”

    It is simply time for Limbaugh and devoted Catholics to put the use of birth control down as condoning promiscuity and a sin, a Catholic stubborn and ungrounded belief.

    • True, best to be studying, but a lack of contraception often doesn’t keep people from having sex. And babies are even more likely to keep women from their studies. They’re also likely to cost tax payers more $$ than birth control.

      • It is simply time for Limbaugh and devoted Catholics to stop putting the use of birth control down as condoning promiscuity and a sin, a stubborn and ungrounded belief.

  16. Ilaise Ma'ufualu

    Rush Limbaugh’s comment to Sandra Fluke appalled and offended me. He not only disrespected, Sandra Fluke, but all women of all ages. I feel that he is not educated about the whole purpose of birth control. There is more than one use for birth control. Girls as well as women use it in order to regulate their period flow when it consistently becomes irregular. Some teenagers sometimes use it for acne treatments because the birth control pill clears up their skin. Birth control isn’t just used to prevent a girl from getting pregnant. Besides, it’ll be a whole lot cheaper and less stressful if birth control was affordable and available for women who are being smart because they do not want an unplanned pregnancy with a child they did not want in the first place. And because that pregnancy was unplanned and the woman is inadequately prepared to care and support a child, how will she be able to care for the child? There is adoption and the foster care system, however that’s more of a hassle and more money is being used to care for these children whose mothers were not able to get birth control because they could not afford it or it wasn’t available to them. Life is not simple, there are too many things in life that can occur and no one is perfect. And everyone, women AND men will have to be abstinent. Things just don’t work out the way certain strong-opinioned (right-wingers and extremely religious) people want it to be. Some people should understand that not everything can be in their control, especially a woman’s body.

  17. Jessica Garriga

    I absolutely hate the argument that Birth Control means that ‘tax payers are playing for women to have sex’. It just shows how knowledgeable they actually are on birth control. For starters, birth control is a hormonal drug that can treat ovarian cysts, anemia related to menstrual crams, or (like me) reduces heavy blood flow and reduces intense pain, etc. It’s a drug that must be used everyday for it to actually work, so the argument that “she’s having so much sex she can’t afford birth control” is a flat out lie. Since you only take one drug once a day and must take it once a day for it to work; sex or no sex. Viagra, on the other hand, is often prescribed for erectile dysfunction. It is used only when the man wants to have sex. THUS IT BECOMES A SEX DRUG ONLY. Condoms can run as low as a buck each and can be found anywhere! These people like Rush are either insanely stupid and uneducated on the subject, OR they hate the idea that women can take care of themselves.

    The argument against birth control is so weak, i’m still awestruck how easily people fall into the false information. Even as a tax payer issue, it doesn’t add up. Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the long run to provide birth control for women who can’t afford it than paying taxes for their unwanted children, possible foster care, welfare, public schools, etc? Since they can’t afford birth control isn’t it logical to assume they can’t afford to provide for the child they may accidentally have?
    Then again these people think that birth control = more promiscuous women = more pregnant women. It’s like saying seat belts and air bags in a car will cause more accidents thus more death.

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