By now we are all familiar with the story of Rush Limbaugh and his comments about Sandra Fluke that sparked a national controversy. Like many women, I was outraged by his words and struggled to understand why someone would think it was acceptable to say such things — especially on the air.
While I understand that he is a commentator who makes his living on such outbursts, this time he crossed a line. I found great comfort in the words of University President John J. DeGioia. His message to the campus community reminded me of the importance of responding with civility and respect, rather than the hostility that was dished out to Fluke and her supporters.
Aside from the distasteful name-calling and comments, it was upsetting to see how distorted Fluke’s testimony became. She never demanded to be paid for sex; she was simply making the point that many students pay upwards of $1,000 a year for student health plans that do not include birth control for women. As a fellow Georgetown University student, I know all too well the expense of medication not covered under a health care plan.
I am just one of many women who take these medications to treat common medical conditions and take offense to the idea that Fluke, myself or any other student is “having so much sex” we can’t afford the contraception.
Fluke was correct in saying that these medications are often prescribed for reasons other than birth control. Ovarian cysts, endometriosis and bleeding issues are just a few examples. These are real issues that women face and have found relief for by taking birth control. Calling someone a “feminazi”for supporting such measures is both ignorant and in poor taste.
Limbaugh has every right to oppose the new health insurance measures, but he should be careful to offer commentary that does not detract from the important issues. He could easily use his platform as one that promotes the truth or acts as an agent for social good. Instead, he has used it to superficially attack others; his methods continue the cycle of hatred and ignorance within our society.
It is for these and many other reasons that I want to call upon Limbaugh to make good on a promise he made to the women of Georgetown. On his show, Limbaugh said: “I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want.” There are people within this community that could use the aspirin. I invite every woman at Georgetown to demand their share of aspirin then join me in donating it to low-cost clinics in and around the D.C. metro area. Let’s take an old saying and use it to help those in our community who really are in need.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of birth control, I invite you to join me in asking that Limbaugh follow through on his words. I started an online petition for this cause; so far we are off to a great start with a little over 100 signatures to our simple plea: “Mr. Limbaugh, Make Good on Your Promise.”
Though Limbaugh’s words were shocking and hurtful for Sandra Fluke and her supporters, this story still has a chance to have at least one happy ending.
Katie Frederick is a Master’s candidate in the School of Continuing Studies.