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What's Worse Than Being Called the "S" Word?: Why Rush's "Apology" Added Insult to Injury

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So much of the outrage against Rush Limbaugh has focused on his having called Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, a "slut" and a "prostitute," that I think it's easy to lose sight of what's even worse than what he called her.

First, let's remember that Sandra Fluke was testifying about the difficulty that all students at Georgetown have getting insurance coverage for birth control pills. It may have been easy for Rush to call the (presumably single, straight and childless - after all, she did not testify about herself) Fluke a slut. But that let the anti-woman crowd pretend that this issue is somehow about morality or premarital sex. But, of course, the anti-birth control forces don't discriminate between married and single women, or between women with twenty children or women with none. It has nothing to do with morality. Mitt Romney had it right with his first, gut reaction to a question about the Blunt amendment: it is not government's role to involve itself in the personal decisions made between men and women. (Unfortunately, of course, he immediately caved on that issue.)

More important, Fluke was testifying, of course, about the medicinal uses for hormonal birth control, including a very unfortunate story of a friend of hers who lost an ovary due to those medicinal needs. Yet, in Limbaugh's so-called apology , he repeated the absurd lie that Fluke was testifying about recreation sex. A topic she never once touched upon in her testimony:

On Saturday, after several advertisers withdrew their sponsorship, Mr. Limbaugh issued a statement in which he said, "I sincerely apologize," but really just distorted Ms. Fluke's message in a whole new way. "I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress," he said. "I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities."

The focus on the epithets the Limbaugh hurled, diverts attention from a serious human rights issue that is implied by his turning a deaf ear to her actual testimony. By responding to a story about losing an ovary with ridicule about supposed recreational sex, the underlying message is that women do not deserve to be treated for pain and disease. That the only topics concerning a woman's body worth mentioning have to do with sexuality and procreation. This, from a man who avoided military services due to a cyst, and who was treated for hearing loss, erectile dysfunction , and drug dependency . We usually think of other countries as showing this degree of indifference to the health and well-being of women. Limbaugh, Fox News, and their supporters, are perpetuating the idea that women are disposable - in the U.S., in 2012.  
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http://www.amazon.com/Amy-Fried-Ph.D./e/B004QOOD04/ref=ntt_d

Amy Fried is the author of "Escaping Dick Cheney's Stomach." She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, and has been an advocate for church-state separation and other civil liberties issues. She writes on women's issues, media, veganism (more...)
 

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