Indiana Daily Student

Too little, too late

Problem, Rush?
Problem, Rush?

Rush Limbaugh sparked controversy early last week when he referred to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student, as a “slut” and a “prostitute” on
his radio show.
Fluke is an advocate for women’s health and has testified before Congress that health insurance should cover the cost
of birth control.
Limbaugh clearly couldn’t tolerate a woman with the audacity to defend her rights and had to put her in her place.
But Limbaugh didn’t get away with it. An online campaign targeted his advertisers and forced many of them to drop their ads from his radio show.
The companies scurrying out of Limbaugh’s sinking ship include the mattress companies
Sleep Train and Sleep Number, as well as Quicken Loans and Legal Zoom.
Under this pressure, Limbaugh eventually apologized to Fluke. However, his apology was insultingly two-faced.
Limbaugh didn’t apologize for furthering a misogynistic culture that shames women for sexual activity.
He didn’t apologize for attempting to silence one of the few women in a position to speak truth to power. Instead, Limbaugh limply suggested he had chosen “the wrong words ... in an attempt to be humorous.”
We fail to see the humor in slut-shaming a woman testifying about life-altering medical care in front
of Congress.
Worse, Limbaugh tied his apology to an attack
on women’s health.
He called it “absurd” that America is wasting time by discussing “personal sexual recreational activities”
in Congress.
We actually agree with this statement, but not for the reasons Limbaugh intends. It is absurd that Congress is discussing how and when to deny women
access to birth control.
It is ridiculous that a few hundred members of Congress, mostly rich men, are in a position to dictate the access women, especially poor women, have to
birth control.
Limbaugh’s tirade against Fluke wasn’t just an attempt at humor gone awry, nor did it occur in isolation from the wider
political arena.
Women’s health is becoming a battlefield as we approach the 2012
elections. The recent battle about health insurance coverage for birth control and how to accommodate religious institutions under that law was only
one skirmish.
Presidential candidate Rick Santorum defended efforts to deny full health insurance coverage to women, calling the use of contraception “a grievous moral wrong.”
The battle about women’s health is no longer dominated by the abortion debate. Somehow, our nation has been sent back half a century, and we once again have to defend women’s rights to sexual choice and protection.
Taking a misogynist such as Limbaugh off the air would at least be a minor step in the
right direction.

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