Obama calls student insulted by talk show host
By AFP | AFP – Sat, Mar 3, 2012
President Barack Obama telephoned a law student in a show of support after she was called “a slut” by a rightwing radio talk show host for testifying to lawmakers about contraception.
“The president called Georgetown University law student — Sandra Fluke… because he wanted to offer his support to her,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
“He wanted to express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks and to thank her for exercising her rights as a citizen to speak out on an issue of public policy.”
Fluke appeared last month before US lawmakers to argue that health insurance plans should cover the cost of contraception — a key, but controversial requirement in Obama’s 2010 health care law.
She described how female students at Georgetown University had been denied contraception because of the school’s Catholic affiliations, and told of a friend who lost an ovary after developing cysts which could have been treated by birth control pills.
Fluke also argued that contraception could cost a woman as much as $3,000 during her law school studies.
“It’s not about church and state,” Fluke told the hearing. “It’s about women’s health.”
But the popular high priest of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, known for stirring up controversy, denounced Fluke as “a slut” on Wednesday alleging she was asking to be paid for having sex.
“What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, 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,” Limbaugh stormed.
“She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”
The issue of contraception has been thrust into the fore as the 2012 election campaign heats up, after Republicans claimed Obama’s provision requiring organizations to offer free contraception on employee health plans was a war on religion.
Obama sought to defuse the row by exempting religious organizations. But he stuck by the principle that all women should have free access to such services, putting the onus on insurance firms to offer women working for religious employers such as Catholic hospitals free birth control coverage.
The US Senate on Thursday rejected an attempt to exempt employers who cite moral objections to birth control measures.