Saturday, March 3, 2012

Latest Front in the Culture Wars

There’s a war going on as I write this post—a war that will determine precisely what kind of country we will become in the 21st century.  And Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown law school, has emerged as the hero of the hour in this war.   
Ms. Fluke, former president of the Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice and an editor on the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, had been engaged in a struggle with Georgetown University over the university’s refusal to provide insurance coverage for contraception.  Prevented last week from testifying at the overtly misogynistic hearing Republicans held in the House of Representatives, she was given a forum to speak at a Democratic event, where she reported that students at her university often pay as much as $1000 a year for contraceptives.
That simple statement of fact prompted right-wing blow-hard and Oxycontin pill popper, Rush Limbaugh, to slander her in the most appalling manner possible.  “What does that make her?” he asked.  “It makes her a slut, right?  It makes her a prostitute.”  These comments provoked a slew of denunciations from Democrats, and even Republicans like John Boehner and Mitt Romney attempted to distance themselves from Limbaugh, knowing full well the violent reaction that these words would provoke, particularly among women.  

But Limbaugh himself was unrepentant.  On Wednesday, he went on to throw even more fuel into the fire he had started by offering this piece of advice to Ms. Fluke:  “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.” 

It would seem that, according to Limbaugh and the conservatives who support him, any woman who uses birth control is not only a slut and a prostitute, but an aspiring porn star as well. 

Despite the equivocation of some conservatives on this issue, there’s no doubt in my mind that the right-wing agenda in this country is fixated on turning back the clock on women’s reproductive rights.   The problem for conservatives is that the war for control over reproductive rights was fought and won by women over 40 years ago, and there is no conceivable way that any reasonable woman is going to allow pasty old white men and clerics to strip them of the freedom that they now take for granted.   Indeed, when over 90% of all Catholic women use some form of birth control—despite their Church’s attempts over the years to demonize the practice—you know that contraception is not an issue any longer in most Americans’ minds.  It’s about as controversial as the question of what fabric softener to use. 

When reactionaries like Limbaugh or Rick Santorum start to challenge the validity of these rights, all they will really succeed in doing is completely alienating reasonable women around the country.  Furthermore, by continually harping on these sorts of issues, conservatives will ultimately drive women out of the Republican Party, just as they have driven out minorities, gays, and those who care about issues like environmental protection, civil liberties, and the separation of church and state.  The only people who will be left in the Party will be the most extreme reactionaries and fanatics, whose sole agenda will be to return the country to a time when women knew their place (i.e., in the kitchen and in the bedroom) and the good ole boys could run the country without interference from those with wombs or excessive pigmentation in their skins. 

So much thanks is owed to Sandra Fluke for providing progressives with a new weapon with which to fight the new fronts that are opening up in the culture wars.   Sometimes, it takes a woman of courage to remind the rest of us how easily freedom can be undermined without extreme vigilance. 

39 comments:

  1. This is a war that liberals like you won't win. Americans are fed up with godless liberal East Coast elitists setting the moral agenda for this country. We were founded as a Christian nation, and the Ten Commandments mean something to Americans, even if you think that they are just silly, antiquated ideas that are best swept into the dust bin of history.

    It may be acceptable for college students in New York to sleep around with whomever they want as often as they want, but where I come from doing that kind of thing does get you labled as a slut and a whore. So what El Rushbo said was what most of us living in the real United States of America already think. It's only in places like New York and California where sexual promiscuity is viewed as a morally acceptable lifestyle.

    You are totally right that there is a change coming in this country. But the change will be a move to the right. In the next election you are going to see liberals who support abortion, gay rights, and state-funded birth control get swept out of office. I feel confident that we will be returning to a country that is god-fearing, law-abiding, and sexually chaste. That's the kind of country that I want to live in, and I think that it's the kind of country that most respectable Americans want to live in as well.

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    1. "Its only in places like New York and California where sexual promiscuity is viewed as a morally acceptable lifestyle". Obviously this person lives under a rock and does not want to accept the fact that the 17 year old who lives next door is probably having sex. And even worse, unsafe sex because they do not have the resources to obtain any form of contraception, whether that be the pill or condoms.

      As for you being a male, half of the issues that are on the table do you not concern YOUR body. So please, enlighten me on how you think you have the authority, or any male in office for that matter, to control MY body.

      You want to make this country a better place? Allow for easier access to contraceptives. Because that 16 year old girl who can't afford to have a baby (but still will), will end up on government assistance for who knows how long (which I'm sure you don't support either being a Republican). So wouldn't it be easier to allow that 16 year old girl to go to planned parenthood and get the pill?

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    2. I agree with you completely, Alyssa. The guy who wrote those comments is a total out of it and has no clue about what college students are doing (We're having sex, just like everyone else over the age of 16). He's typical, though, of most conservatives. They want government out of everyone's lives, except when it comes to letting women make decisions about their own bodies. Disgusting!

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    3. I totally disagree with you, Kurt. You say that America is fed up with liberal, godless, east coasters like Mike. I am a Christian college student from Long Island, and I can assure you that even more Americans are fed up with ignorant, southern rednecks like you.

      You say that New York and California are the only places in the country that sleeping around is considered acceptable? You should step out of your conservative Christian bubble and realize that EVERY college in EVERY state has students that sleep around. If you're too naive to realize that (or worse, you realize it and refuse to admit it) there's really nothing I can do to say to you, because that would make you a completely unaware, and irrational person.

      It is uninformed, southern hicks like you that make me question my pride in this nation. You say you live in the real United States? In the REAL Unites States, we live in the 21st century. Teens are having sex, gays are getting married, and the majority of women (Christian and not) are taking birth control. What business does a white MAN have telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her body? No business, actually.

      You feel free to go knock up any woman you want, and then leave her to have a child that she may not be able to take care of. That seems like a great alternative to contraceptives to me. I hope to GOD, I never live to see that day that this nation reverts back to colonial times, like you’d like it too. As a nation, as a human race, we’ve come too far and grown too much to go back to the times when women are responsible for taking care of the children they were forced by society to have.

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    4. Kurt you clearly do not live in "the real United States" because if you did you would realize that college students everywhere are having sex not just in NY or CA. And because these students are doing this everywhere it only makes sense that they are smart enough to use some sort of protection. And how about everyones rights to their own religion, not everyone is raised a Christian and in that case do not believe the same things that you do. Who are you to say that it should be back to the way it was hundreds of years ago before any of these new advances have come around to prevent pregnancies. You need to step into the real world and look around.
      Shanna S

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    5. Kurt - were you dropped on a head when you were a baby? I'm not talking tripping over your feet and bumping your head...I'm talking falling from a 10 foot crib flat on your face like ten times.

      Clearly, the country is moving in a COMPLETELY different direction than the original constitution imagined. In fact, this is why it was designed to be a living document. Although it's essential to maintain conservative values in order to keep our country's mindset consistent, we must learn to adapt to new lifestyles and help the general American Population.

      I do agree, that we must begin to align our views further to the right on MANY issues, but let's focus on bigger items and pick arguments well. I'd much rather see the United States focus on having an isolationist foreign policy than waste time on petty issues like a college student asking for increased healthcare coverage.

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  2. There are so many problems with your position that I hardly know where to begin. First, you make it seem like 18 year olds are mature enough to use birth control properly, which is not the case. That's why so many young women wind up getting pregnant as a result of their sexual activity, even when they supposedly had "protected themselves". Second, a permissive attitude towards birth control opens the flood gates to a more permissive attitude towards sexual activity in general: Once sex becomes something you do just for pleasure - separated from marriage - then just about anything goes. Third, the liberalization of laws concerning contraception leads to a slippery slope whereby things like abortion become easier to accept. That's why the crusade for easy access to birth control went hand-in-hand with the crusade for abortion in the 1970s. Fourth, Georgetown is Catholic University, so if Ms. Fluke does like the moral rules that govern the place, she is free to find some other law school that better fits her liberal attitudes. Finally, there is something know as the first amendment that allows people like Rush Limbaugh to express their opinions as they see fit. I may not agree with his specific word choices with regards to Ms. Fluke's behavior, but it is Mr. Limbaigh's right to speak out against her if he so chooses. You make it seem like those who support Limbaugh's position are out of touch reactionaries, but conservatives are probably in the majority on this position. You appear to be the one who is somewhat out of touch, probably because as a previous commentor pointed out, you don't have a clue about what those people in other parts of the country think. You might be surprised at just how traditional most Americans are when it comes to the thought of the college-aged daughters having sex. Go visit Kansas or Texas some time and you will learn something useful about mainstream American values.

    Respectfully,
    Kevin, South Bend, IN

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    1. 1. 18 years olds may not be mature enough to use birth control perfectly, but they are definitely not old enough to be having illigitimate children or going through abortions, which is what is going to happen if they have unprotected sex.

      2. There's no evidence that the use of contraception leads to more permissive attitudes towards sex. There are plenty of monogomous couples who use contraception who are certainly not adopting an "anything goes" mentality.

      3. I don't buy your slippery slope argument. In fact, I think that intelligent use of contraception is probably the best way to reduce the number of abortions in this country.

      4. I agree with you on this point. When choosing a university to attend, students should select one whose values are in harmony with their own.

      5. The first amendment also allows those who are disgusted with what Limbaugh said to pressure companies to remove their advertising on his show. And I'd strong encourage everyone to do exactly that!

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    2. I agree that young teens should not have to go through abortions and the stress and decisions of having a child at a young age. So I think contraception is very important. I think it is a great thing for all young teens to be on, to keep themselves safe until they choose when they are ready for the responsibility of a child. I understand people are saying they don’t want to pay for people to have sex, although those people may also be people that are against abortion, so in that case to prevent abortions its safe to use contraception’s. It can be very expensive for young teens if their insurance does not cover it. In that way it is not their fault they are trying to be safe and do the right thing. It is not wrong to have sex all people do it and its better to take the safe approach on it because not is a guarantee.

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  3. Okay. So I read this blog post and the comments and before writing this I decided to do a little research. This "war" is not about denying women access to contraceptives. This is about a woman who wants others to pay for her personal choices. If a woman decides to engage in sexual activity it is HER AND HER PARTNERS responsibility to take the proper precautions.

    Condoms can be found in any store such as CVS, Walmart, and even gas stations. Cost ranging from $0.75 to $20.00. Contraceptives such as birth control can be provided to you by an OB/GYN through insurance or Planned Parenthood free of charge. To make others pay for Sandra Fluke's birth control is ridiculous!

    Rush Limbaugh stated on his radio show "What does it say about the college coed student Sandra Fluke, 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.” Now, it was inappropriate to call Sandra Fluke a slut and Rush issued a written apology to Sandra Fluke AND reiterated on his radio program "I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her. I do not think she is either of those two words. I did not think last week that she was either of those two words." However, that’s not good enough!

    After all the controversy around Limbaugh, it seems as if conservatives are foul mouthed, closed mined deviants. However, people like Bill Maher who called Sarah Palin a “dumb twat” aren’t attacked and don’t apology for his comment. Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, a conservative media-watching group, said "it's very easy to make a big, huge list" of Maher's offensive comments. But "nobody says to him, 'Um, are you going to take that back?' That's the problem, that we have a complete and total double standard."

    This issue isn’t about denying Women’s reproductive rights. This isn’t about denying practices of safe sex. People are going to have sex whenever and with whoever they want. IT’S THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE PROPER PRECAUTION AND SEEK PROPER CARE WITHOUT HAVING OTHERS TO PAY FOR THE PERSONAL DECISIONS!

    It’s your body, your choice, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!

    Victoria B.

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    1. Wow! This was a damned good argument. You really took the time to think though the issue. I don't agree with your position, but I am impressed that you came up with such a strong response.

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    2. Couples who are in their early 20s probably have sex at least once a day (and some of us want it much more than that). The cost of bc quickly adds up and that could make people take foolish risks when it comes to sex. It's much cheaper for society to provide bc than to handle the fall-out from unprotected sex (e.g., disease, pregnancy, abortion, etc).

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  4. At first, I was taken back that someone of his stature would actual go up in front of people and 1. state what he stated and 2. call her a slut. I felt like that was COMPLETELY out of hand for him to do. Apologizes can go to a certain point, but once it is said it can not be taken back. He has no reason to have to go that far with the situation. I do agree with the idea of the person above it, it is your decision to have sex & just like condoms, you can go to the store or pharmacy and buy them. So if they choose to engage in such activity, they should know the price. Though, it does not take into affect that woman do not only take birth control for the use of sex. For example, I know a few about of teen girls that take it and have not had sex before either. Birth control can help a womans body develop and control their period. My friends have personally gone through periods that have last them 3 to 4 weeks at a time, and if it was not for birth control it would still be the same. To come to a conclusion, Rush took the situation too far yet I understand why he believes it should be the responsibilities for wanting to take part in intercourse. Yet I do believe he should take into affect other medical uses of birth control.
    -Mary C.

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  5. To be honest I was completely shocked he went as far as to call her a slut, but then to continue to defend his statements and take them further, he's truly just taking himself out of this race. He does not know her. He knows nothing about this woman's personal life, so to go as far as to attack her name is playing with the borders of slander. She's defending all college students, to try to help them practice safe sex. If he doesn't believe that students in college are having sex, he has no place in attempting to run this country since he clearly doesn't even know the public.

    Now, to address her complaints that insurance should be covering contraception for college students. To me this seems absurd. Each student that wants to have sex, is making a conscious choice to do so. If you practice unsafe sex, nobody told you not to use protection. If your girlfriend gets pregnant, I think you both knew that was a possibility. To say that the government needs to help cease these unplanned pregnancy's by paying for all the kids to have safe sex is ridiculous. It's your choice and many students continue to make it time and time again, and then when something goes wrong, they find somewhere to point a finger towards. If students want to have sex, practice safe sex. Use contraceptives. Okay it may cost you $1000 a year. Compare that to the money you're going to spend raising a child instead when you're still in college and struggling to work full time.
    Take responsibility for your actions.

    -Conor

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  6. you're delusional kurt. How is it that you think America will once again become "sexually chaste?" The reality is, Americans love having sex. More and more young people are having sex as we speak. I agree that I don't think its morally right for girls to be promiscuous, but there's nothing wrong with having sex. How would you like it if you wanted to have sex with a girl but she refused and responded that she wants to be "sexually chaste?" Or maybe you just don't have a sex drive. Or maybe you're still pissed that you're a grown man and still a virgin. Either way, you're wrong.

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  7. Women should be able to have abortion only if the womans life is in danger. They should not be using abortion as a form of birth control. Abortions are free at the clinics but AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE.

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    1. I think your missing the point Joe. We shouldnt have to pay for a woman's birth control if she wants to have sex.

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    2. Who the fuck is using abortion as a form of birth control? What planet do you live on? Do you think that women enjoy having abortions?

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    3. That is exactly what i just said?

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    4. Open your eyes. Clearly you are living in a different world buddy.

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    5. This issuse isnt about abortion Joe. Its about paying other peoples contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. The can go into and gas station or cvs and by condoms or go to planparenthood for free one month samples.Abortion isn't in this issue.And women should be able to have an abortion if they feel it is appropriate. No one wants or enjoys the process.

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    6. Don't ever call me "buddy." I only respond to "pal."

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  8. I feel it is all up to the women and they should be creating the rules, their are women on both sides of the playing field let them battle it out.

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    1. What the hell is this supposed to mean? What were you taking when you wrote this? Make a point, damn it!

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  9. This country was built on a foundation of freedoms....one of the most important being free speech. There is absolutely nothing wrong wit Rush voicing his opinion, just as we all are right here on this blog. His words may not have been choice, but they're true. Many people feel the same way as he does. Why should we pay for contraceptives? We shouldn't be encouraging promiscuity. If a woman can't afford contraceptives, she shouldn't be having sex and risking getting knocked up and having a kid she can't afford. This is a great way to put our country even more in debt-let's have a bunch of welfare babies that we can't afford. Cmon America...

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. Limbaugh has probably never had a woman before. People are allowed to disagree with birth control and say that it is wrong, but it is so wrong that he went to the extent of calling anyone a slut or a whore, or even more dumb, a prostitute for it. Contraception is out there and so is sex, you can't just pretend no one is using them and that no one is having sex. Some women really are sluts, but not every single woman is a slut because this guy thinks so. No one knows about everyone elses personal life, and some people may not be sleeping around with everyone but need contraception for the one person they have been with a while. He is making rash comments and being a jerk in trying to defend his case. He's not slandering contraception, but he is slandering woman across America.

    Even though I disagree with how he is handling his side of the argument, I 100% agree that universities and colleges should not provide birth control and contraception for the students. A place of education should not pay for someone's sex life. I know they said it was about $1,000 a year for some students to pay for contraception, but why is that the school's problem? Using contraception is a choice, so its the student's responsibilty to pay for their choices. They don't need to have contraception and it is not academically related, so they school should not have to provide insurance for that for the students.

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  11. Let's get one thing right...Rush should have never called her a slut. No matter what your position is on this debate, saying the girl is a slut is not only wrong, but it makes Rush look like an idiot. He does not know her background. She may have a very valid reason for using birth control. Calling this girl a slut is completely inconsiderate and borderline moronic.

    Now regarding the issue at hand, I believe a woman should have the right to birth control. This does not make her a slut and also does not make her a bad person. I am completely against abortion and I believe that using birth control avoids abortions. Contraceptives also avoid giving a child a horrible life where the mother and, if there is, a father just are unable to support the baby and give it the type of life it deserves. People will have sex. It is a fact of life and you cannot stop it. What you can do is use contraceptives to regulate the things you are doing. I am not supporting the use of contraceptives and then sleeping around. I am supporting the use of contraceptives in a smart and responsible manner. Be smart and think before you act.

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  12. Rush Limbaugh went way too far on this one. He has no right to call this girl a slut and that she should take sex tapes of herself. The statement that Rush made was inconciterate and and made him look moronic.

    Woman should have the right to take birth control. Just because she takes it it doesnt mean that she is a slut or porn star. She is protecting herself just like how guys protect themselves with condoms. Sometimes birth control is necessary for girls. For example a common thing for girls is to grow cysts on their ovaries. Doctors give them birth control in order to shrink the problem. I believe that woman have the right to choose whether to take birth control or not. Others should not judge them or treat them any other way then before.
    -Matt C.

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  13. I completely disagree with Limbaugh and his comments towards Ms. Fluke (a well educated at Georgetown). The fact that he called Ms. Fluke a slut made him look like a complete idiot because there are many reasons why women are taking birth control. As the statistics are shown, over 90% of catholic women are taking birth-control which would mean that Limbaugh is calling them all a slut. This argument will bring many women to fight against or towards his comments bringing his reputation to get destroyed. All these comments and remarks towards women will drive them away from republican parties.
    Leo A.

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  14. Rush Limbaugh is a shovenist pig! He is not a credible man he is a crazy man! The way he spoke to Sandra was appalling. He's way of making his point is by degrading women, apparently he's not that intelligent.
    Do people not realize that contraceptives=reduction in unwanted pregancies? Women who use contraceptives are not promiscuous they are INTELLIGENT!
    Limbaugh does not want women to have control of their lives. He is a mysognist who apprently believes that women should be home barefoot and pregnant.
    Women bear all the pyhsical and emotional burdens of unwanted pregancies, NOT MEN!
    He obviously knows nothing about sex. Last I checked a woman does not take a pill everytime she has sex. He's an idiot.
    Not only does contraceptives prevent pregancies their are also health benfits for women.
    Georgetown University is imposing their own religious beliefs on students. It's one thing to express your position on an issue it's another to take someone' rights away and impose their beliefs on the women who attend the University and whoa also work there.
    Just for the record insurance premiums will not increase.
    Someone in the Republican party had said that maybe people should practice abstinence or use condoms.
    Let me make ask you, who in today's society is going to practice abstinence?
    And for those that don't know, condoms are not as reliable as contraceptives in preventing pregancies.
    Bottom line no man especially Rush Limbaugh, the moron has any right on telling women what they can do.
    I give Ms.Fluke a lot of credit, it took great courage for her to speak up. And that is exactly what Limbaugh doesn't want, for women to have a voice. So what does he do he retaliates by name calling.

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    1. I completely agree with you! What Rush said was way out of line and inaproriate! Contraception is a good thing NOT a bad thing!

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  15. i agree that a lot of teenagers are currently taking birth control. With that being said, it is completely her and her partners choice to do so! It is not the responsibility of anyone else to pay for it! If she wants to have sex, she should be the one paying to ensure protection. There is plenty of inexpensive ways to do so. If the government and colleges begin to pay for birth control then they should also pay for NECESSARY medications that people need to survive and function in day to day life. There is definitely a large majority of young girls having sex but if they are old enough to make that decision then they should also be old enough to pay for their own protecion. Sex is opening the door to the possibility of getting pregnant (no matter what protection you use) and if you are not mature enough for that then you shouldnt be having sex. It is not the responsibility of the college to pay for your sex life. It is your decision and therefore your responsibility to take the necessary care.

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    1. And this has nothing to do with reducing womens rights! It is solely about the fact it is not anyone elses responsibility to pay for birth control but the two partners involved! People have every right to do as they please but it is not the government or colleges problem to ensure your protection.

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    2. My Dear Michelle,

      There are no inexpensive but also safe and effective types of birth control. It might be easy for a middle class women to get bc, but it's definitely not affordable to poor women. That's whay the government HAS to get involved.

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    3. If you have enough money to afford to attend college, then you should be able to afford birth control. This is not the governments responsibility so they should stay out of it. Liberals are constantly saying that government should not interfer in daily life so why all of a sudden do they want the government to get involved in this aspect of it.

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    4. Have you seen how much college costs these days? Most college students are lucky if they have enough money to eat after paying tuition, let alone enough to pay for birth control.

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  16. Limbaugh is an arrogant ignaramus. All he has done here is further ostracize himself on dumbass island. He attempts, through his maniacal ramblings of ridicule, to marginalize women and their choice to use contraception. The only thing he has done succesfully is marginalize himself as a right wing shovenist. Thus, he can kiss the womens republican vote good bye. The best part is that he only has himself to blame. Last time I checked, self destruction was not a quality written on the stepping stones leading to the oval office. Though its not his only quality. So maybe he has a chance, right? Lets face it, the guy is a first class idiot. Anyone who would shoot their own foot off in a race this paramount in importance deserves to be out. Though, as we learned with Bushes two terms, intelligence is not a prerequesite for presedential candidates. Unfortunately, in addition and on the other side of that coin, it isnt a prerequesite for voters either. The unfortunate truth is most people lack the character and the knowledge to develop an informed opinion in polotics. Congratulations Rush, because once again your feeble minded antics have managed to disuade even the "simplest" voter!

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  17. What Rush Limbaugh said was just totally out of line! Just because a women takes birth control DOES NOT make her a prostitute or slut! He knows nothing about her except that she takes birth control, and he can not make any assumptions based on just that information.

    I take birth control and I am not a slut or a prostitute or ever intend on making a porno! Many women take birth control for medical reasons as well, does that make them sluts and porn stars??? I don't think so!! Rush had NO right to make those comments towards the girl and what he said was wrong! I really don't think he would like it if we made assumptions about him based on little information! Guys use protection and so do girls so theres no need to call girls sluts, porn starts or even prostitutes! We live in a free country so these girls are free to do what they want!

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