The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Religious Freedom? Rush Limbaugh Calls Student “Slut” For Using Birth Control

On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh, who has no children and is currently on his fourth wife, decided it would be a good idea to slap the “prostitute” label on a young woman who recently testified before Congress on the need for healthcare plans to cover contraception. One day later, the Senate barely defeated a bill that would allow employers and insurers to avoid covering birth control. Most defended the bill on the grounds of “religious freedom” — but Limbaugh’s stone-age utterings may have given the game away.

Sandra Fluke is a law student at Georgetown University who told Congress that rolling back Obama’s policy — which ensures coverage for birth control under any plan — would make birth control unaffordable for many women, including women who need to take it to treat ovarian cancer. Her appearance caused a stir because she only appeared after Democrats walked out of a Republican hearing on the contraception policy that included zero women.

Limbaugh shared his thoughts on Wednesday:

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. 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 taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.

This great defender of family values, who has called himself the “intellectual engine” of the conservative movement and commands a unique amount of power over the behavior of the Republicans in and out of Congress, has decided that the best way to wage a policy war is to graphically shame a woman for making a choice that many conservative women — and Limbaugh knows a lot of conservative women — also regularly make.

For whatever reason — cowardice? agreement? annoyance? — Republicans have shied from responding to a letter signed by more than than 70 Democratic representatives asking them to condemn Limbaugh’s comments. Of course, Thursday’s silence coincided with the 51-48 defeat in the Senate of an amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and Sen. Marco Rubio (D-Florida) that would allow companies’ insurance plans to avoid covering the birth control costs (or any other procedure) of employees if there were any moral or religious objections.

Blunt told the Associated Press that the fight “won’t be over until the administration figures out how to accommodate people’s religious views at it relates to these mandates,” making it seem like the fight is for the rights of religious groups. It sounds moderate and inclusive, building an illusion of tolerance for a party that has grown increasingly hostile to any sort of reproductive health rights for women. (Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, one of the last Republicans who was not anti-abortion, recently decided to retire because of the contraception fight, among other reasons).

Given that 60% of Catholic women supported Obama’s policy even before the newest round of fighting, one might believe that the Republicans would want to start talking about women with respect so they won’t alienate those ever-crucial suburban soccer moms in this fall’s election.

Or maybe, like college, that’s just for snobs.

 

 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

This is the first of what is sure to be way too many campaign columns to come. If you’d like them to land in your email inbox every time I write one, please buy a subscription.

Keep reading...Show less

Tape of home invasion attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi

Youtube Screenshot

Video released Friday of the harrowing home invasion and assault that nearly killed then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in October brought little in the way of self-reflection or regret from far-right Internet trolls and Fox News stars who spent months baselessly insisting that the attack had actually resulted from a gay tryst gone wrong. Instead, the denizens of the right-wing conspiracy theory ecosystem either claimed that the new evidence proved that they were right all along, or used it to float additional conspiracy theories about why it hadn’t been released earlier.

The key facts were available within hours of the October 28, 2022, attack. Law enforcement swiftly alleged that David DePape broke into the Democratic leader’s home in the middle of the night seeking to harm her and pummeled her 82-year-old husband Paul, sending him to the hospital for emergency surgery. Journalists who reviewed DePape’s Internet history subsequently revealed that he had been radicalized online and espoused a wide array of right-wing conspiracy theories, including QAnon.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}