What the Contraception Debate is All About

“Women’s health takes a backseat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body.”

Contraception and access to it has been a huge issue in recent US politics, buy why is it such a hotly debated topic (between some)? Why is there such conflict over providing affordable contraception?

Conservatie radio host Rush Limbaugh has finally put the reason for such discomfort over affordable contraception into the the open: People are uncomfortable with women having sexual freedom. It all comes down to slut-shaming.

As shown in the video above, Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committe on women’s health and contraception. Following this, Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitue.” Limbaugh’s disgusting words against Fluke have since received a huge amount of media attention. Here is an excerpt of some his language, via the Huffington Post where you can listen to an audio clip of it:

“So the woman comes forth with this frankly hilarious claim that she’s having so much sex – and her buddies with her – that she can’t afford it,” Limbaugh continued. “And not one person says, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?”

In addition to the publicity Limbaugh has incurred, his hateful speech has brought upon some backlash. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has condemned Limbaugh’s words, Obama has personally called Fluke to offer support, and advertisers have even pulled spots from Limbaugh’s programming. As New York Magazine points out, in calling Fluke a “slut” Limbaugh has finally put the underlying reason for the contraception debate into the open, thus eliciting a huge mainstream media response:

I suspect it’s because it almost feels like a relief to have the bile out in the open, instead of in a coded subtext as it has been in the recent debate surrounding women’s contraception.

He has shown that he believes that women’s sexual choices are a public, governmental issue. His words show that he is afraid of a woman who chooses to be in control of her health and sexual choices, and thus he must belittle her.

The long-term effects of Limbaugh’s words remain to be seen. He has lost advertisers, but he is not the only one who has rallyed against contraception. Republican Nominee hopeful Rick Santorum has made it a centerpiece of his campaign to make judgement calls on other people’s sexual practices. Perhaps his stances against sexual freedom will be subject to backlash as well, or the slut-shaming mentality underneath them will be made visible. Fluke has demonstrated incredible bravery in speaking out in favor of women’s health, and I can only hope others will follow in her path.

Thanks to Lily for the tip.

Rush Limbaugh On Sandra Fluke, Obama Call: Having ‘So Much Sex’; Parents Should Be ‘Embarrassed’ (AUDIO) [Huffington Post]

Why Is Everyone Paying So Much Attention to Rush Limbaugh? [NYMag]

Rush Limbaugh’s ‘slut’ comment draws rebukes from all sides [LA Times]

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