Rush Limbaugh weighed in on the contraception hearings taking place in the House of Representatives, taking particular aim at Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke who testified about the importance of contraception coverage for the women at religiously affiliated organizations — like law students at Jesuit schools such as herself. Limbaugh’s take on the issue:
“What does it say….that she 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 the contraception. She wants you and me and the tax payers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? The pimps.”
That’s right, ladies. According to Mr. Limbaugh, the right-wing id’s gaseous Mouthpiece-in-Chief, if you want your insurance companies to pay for contraceptive coverage then you are nothing more than whores. All of you.
I really have no comment on the particulars of Mr. Limbaugh’s epigrams. As Burt would say, res ipsa loquitur. When passing a festering pile of barnyard excrement, who among us pauses to admire the variegations of brown therein? The staggering stupidity and misogyny required to make a statement like this defy any attempts to parse them.
No, what I’d like to note is something I saw in that same TPM dispatch:
In her testimony, Fluke was talking about hormonal contraception, and specifically about the medical reasons for having hormonal contraception beyond preventing pregnancies. [emphasis added]
I haven’t been able to find a transcript of Fluke’s testimony yet, so I’m relying a bit on the veracity of TPM’s reporting. Given that it is itself a partisan source, there is the possibility that Fluke was testifying in part about hormonal contraception to prevent pregnancy, which is what Limbaugh (to give him far more benefit of the doubt that he deserves) may have been referring exclusively. However, I did find this from HuffPo:
Fluke, a third-year law student, said that Georgetown Law, a Jesuit institution, does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan and that contraception can cost a woman more than $3,000 during law school. She spoke of a friend who had an ovary removed because the insurance company wouldn’t cover the prescription birth control she needed to stop the growth of cysts.
Clearly Fluke was talking, if not exclusively, then largely about non-contraceptive uses for hormonal contraceptive pills. Which makes what Limbaugh said not only vile and appalling, but also shockingly (though unsurprisingly) dishonest. To do so requires a degree of malicious indifference to the health of women that I find staggering.
There are many, many non-contraceptive uses for oral contraceptive pills, such that I wish there were another name for them. In my practice, I prescribe them with great frequency for menstrual disorders that include debilitating pain, massive blood loss and (as in the case of Ms. Fluke’s friend) ovarian cysts. For women with disfiguring acne who want to be treated with Accutane, hormonal contraception is required because the former medication can cause horrible birth defects. For many parents, it is a tough sell to agree to starting their daughters on this medication because of how closely linked to contraception and contraception only it is in their minds. Limbaugh’s comments only serve to strengthen this mental association and the (unfortunate and unfair) opprobrium that comes with it, to the detriment of women’s health.
So deep and abiding is Limbaugh’s hatred for the President and his agenda that he is perfectly happy to keep needed medication out of the hands of countless women, assuming he even recognizes the existence of their non-sexual reproductive health needs in the first place. He is willing to have the daughters of his very listeners deprived of medication that might help them, so long as the end result is a political defeat for the Democrats. The pain and suffering of women is something he will happily accept, if it means his political enemies will lose.
He is a disgrace, not merely as a political commentator and public figure, but as a human being. If there is a single more corrosive influence on our contemporary civic discourse than this nauseous bloat, I can scarcely think of who it might be.