reforms that are opposed by five sixths of the population.
Religious groups are balking at this saying it hurts their conscience paying for health care that covers health care.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student whom House Republicans wouldn’t let testify at a contraception hearing last week, a “slut” and a “prostitute” today, because, Limbaugh argued, she’s having “so much sex” she needs other people to pay for it:
LIMBAUGH: What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] 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.
While it’s probably not even worth engaging with Limbaugh on the facts, Fluke’s testimony was about a friend who is a lesbian and needed birth control for non-sexual medical reasons, so he’s only wrong about three times over, and offensive many more times over than that.
Later, he feigned a walk-back, saying “OK, she’s not a slut, she’s round-heeled” — a colloquialism for a loose woman.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she hoped the chamber would "move forward to address the many important, pressing issues facing in our nation, and stop engaging in what is clearly an election-year ploy."
Snowe on Wednesday called the Blunt amendment “much broader than I could support,” giving voice to the kind of political independence which has become a hallmark of her 33 years of service in Congress.
However, Snowe’s home-state colleague and fellow Republican moderate, Sen. Susan Collins, chose to support the attempt to restrict birth control.
That Snowe and Collins had chosen a more-moderate course gave the pair “outsized influence in the Senate in recent years as they frequently became crucial swing votes on major issues,” according to a Maine newspaper.
But while the departing Snowe decided, once again, to walk away from the GOP party line, Collins, up for re-election in 2014, chose to hew to it.
Speaking on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, Collins says she was conflicted about the Blunt amendment but complained that those in the Obama administration “are playing politics with” the birth-control issue.
“… I feel I have no choice. I hope the amendment will be refined, and I also hope that the senate will move forward to address the many important pressing issues facing our nation and stop engaging in what is clearly an election year ploy,” she says.
Meanwhile, she had to look only to her soon-to-be-departed fellow senator from Maine to see that a choice was indeed possible.
After saying that the Washington, D.C., Department of Health "will send you free condoms and lube," Limbaugh said: "So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."
As much of the country recoils in revulsion from Rush Limbaugh’s shockingly misogynistic attacks on Sandra Fluke, the young Georgetown Law student who testified before Congress about the need for women to have access to contraception, Fox News is siding with Limbaugh. Our Priscilla previously reported on Fox's Todd Starnes’ vile tweets in support of Limbaugh. Exhibit Number Two: Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly didn’t directly address Limbaugh’s hideous rhetoric (though you know that no such reticence would have occurred had he been a liberal attacking a conservative). Instead, O’Reilly regurgitated Limbaugh’s arguments using slightly milder language. Rather than calling Fluke a "slut" outright - as Limbaugh did - O'Reilly merely implied it.
"Do you want to pay for other peoples’ activities?" O'Reilly asked condemningly - as though only certain people have sex.
"…Sandra Fluke believes that all of us should pay for her sexual activities… I’m asking this with all due respect, I am. You want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex? Is that what you’re asking for? Good grief."
Actually, I see it as paying for contraception, not sex, and it’s not O’Reilly being asked to pay, but insurance companies. But putting that aside, I don’t see why O'Reilly's view of contraception coverage is any different from insurance companies paying for smoking-related diseases, accident injuries or obesity-caused conditions. Will multimillionaire O’Reilly be railing against medical coverage for those next?
“What about the concerns of Americans, in general, now forced to buy health insurance who don’t want to pay extra for Sandra Fluke’s social decisions? …To (Fluke and her supporters), sex is a potential health crisis so American taxpayers should now be responsible for what goes on in everybody’s bedroom. I don’t think I can make it any more vivid. This is a freedom issue. My freedom as an American is being encroached upon. The Obama administration is trying to force me and you to pick up the tab for what people do in their private time.
…Now the progressive colossus is demanding payment for Sandra Fluke so that she can go through Georgetown Law School with an active, healthy social life."
O’Reilly also compared contraception coverage to providing drugs to addicts.
The subtext of O’Reilly’s argument is that contraception coverage is somehow a “price” that he is being asked to pay for women’s bad behavior. But sexual activity is not like doing drugs. It’s a normal part of nearly everyone’s behavior. O’Reilly didn’t even consider the possibility that many Georgetown Law School students – like women everywhere – might be married.
But, OK, O’Reilly doesn’t think contraception should be covered. We’ll even stipulate that maybe he has a valid argument. But that is no excuse to vilify Fluke. This is not about her sex life or his paying for it. It’s about contraception for women and whether there should be mandatory coverage for it in health insurance. It’s hard to believe O’Reilly doesn’t get that and that he didn’t make a calculated decision – just like Limbaugh did – to denigrate Fluke. For the sake of - pardon the pun - sexing up his own argument.
I’m sorry, Bill. You may have been a bit less incendiary than Rush but you came out looking like the same kind of prick.
As the blog Think Progress noted, on the July 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, while discussing the issue of whether health insurance plans that cover Viagra should also cover birth control, host Bill O'Reilly asserted: "Viagra is used to help a medical condition -- that's why it's covered. Birth control is not a medical condition, it is a choice. Why should I or anybody else have to pay for other people's choices?" But O'Reilly's assertion is contradicted by professional medical associations that have stated that pregnancy is a medical condition and that "[c]ontraception is medically necessary" for women.
O'Reilly made his comment after airing a Planned Parenthood Action Fund ad that included a clip of Sen. John McCain being asked: "It's unfair how the insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?" McCain responded: "I don't know enough about it to give you an informed answer." During the segment, O'Reilly also said: "Do I have to buy you dinner before you use the birth control? Give me and every other taxpayer a break, Planned Parenthood."
Dr. Luella Klein, former president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and then-director of ACOG's women's health issues, was quoted in a May 12, 1998, USA Today article as saying: "Pregnancy is a medical condition, just like impotence. And the cost benefit of preventing pregnancy is much greater than treating impotence." In addition, ACOG's "Contraceptive Equity Toolkit" states that "[m]ost women can become pregnant from the time they are teenagers until they are in their late forties" and that "[c]ontraception is medically necessary to a woman for more than 30 years of her life." The Toolkit added: "To ignore the health benefits of contraception is to say that the alternative of 12 to 15 pregnancies during a woman's lifetime is medically acceptable."