Rush Limbaugh, Your Vitriol Won’t Silence Us

March 02, 2012

Sandra Fluke speaking at our recent Re: Action — Birth Control in 2012 panel

The nation has been dismayed by the blatantly sexist and offensive comments of talk show host Rush Limbaugh this week, when he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she had the audacity to testify before Congress in favor of birth control access.

Quite frankly, I am confounded by what he said. Where is Limbaugh’s filter? Where is his reflexive sense that telling a woman she must pay for her health care by performing public sex acts is not just morally objectionable but reprehensibly wrong? This is not about mere political correctness; such extreme comments are an affront to every woman and to all people of good will. AAUW respects Limbaugh’s right to disagree with Fluke’s policy position, but his aggressive personal insults and unnecessary coarsening of the public debate are unacceptable. We will not allow such offensive commentary — clearly intended to paint all women with a scarlet letter for our reproductive choices — to silence us.

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX this year, Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke are especially ironic. Title IX, which is well known for transforming educational opportunities for women and girls, is under attack because of its success. Without this groundbreaking civil rights law, women like Fluke might still be precluded from even attending law school. AAUW’s members have long been the most vocal guardians of the law, defending it from concerted efforts to undermine its principles. Limbaugh’s intolerant remarks about a courageous and articulate young woman show just how much we still need Title IX. It is also this kind of mean-spirited partisanship that has so many Americans disenchanted with politics.

By:   |   March 02, 2012

7 Comments

  1. JP Gal says:

    Your description of Limbaugh’s comments as “mean-spirited” is too kind. Here’s how Huffington Post is reporting it:

    Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute,” saying that she was having “so much sex” that she wanted the government to pay for her contraception. Then, he went further, saying, ” if we’re going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/rush-limbaugh-sleep-train-sandra-fluke-slut_n_1315900.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

    It is truly horrifying that someone with a national platform and 14 million regular listeners thought this kind of comment about a private citizen was appropriate. This is beyond the pale in every way, and I urge all women to be smart and resolute about how we respond. Join the boycotts, let companies know that you have, and spread the word, just like the AAUW is doing.

    • lisamaatz says:

      I did call Limbaugh’s comments reprehensible, offensive, insulting, and intended to paint all women with a scarlet letter over our reproductive choices. Mean-spirited was probably the most mild way I described his comments. :)

      Best,
      Lisa

      • JP Gal says:

        Thanks, Lisa — you did do all of that. When I first heard the story yesterday, I thought “well, Limbaugh calling someone names isn’t really new.” It was only after I read the HuffPo piece and his complete comments that I got, in a visceral way, that a line had been crossed. Obliterated, really. That’s why it’s so important that we act, and act now, to get him off the air.

        I appreciate the AAUW adding your sane and thoughtful voice to this debate. You make me proud all the time!

  2. lisa goodnight says:

    Hey Rush –

    A simple message for you.

    Pls think before you speak. Not that it’s any of your business, but there are women on birth control who are not even sexually active. They use the pill to treat medical conditions.

    Educate yourself before you get on your soap box. If you can’t, remember silence is golden.

    Signed,
    Not a fan

  3. Jefferson Dean says:

    It is ridiculous to say that other taxpayers need to pay for her contraception. If she can’t afford it then yes, she is having too much sex. Limbaugh is making a very important point that Fluke, and many others need to learn.

    • HB says:

      Uh, you don’t take more birth control pills based on how much sex you have, so “having too much sex” is beside the point. Apparently according to Rush (and you?) having the audacity to have sex at all is the problem.

      You would do well to heed Lisa’s comment below. Think before you speak. Many women take birth control for non-contraceptive health reasons. And sexual health, including family planning, is a medical issue. It’s as true for women as it is for men.

      Also, what do the taxpayers have to do with it? These birth control hearings are about employers or health insurance companies paying for birth control.

  4. bonnie3747 says:

    Obviously he has no social decorum filters!

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