Yesterday conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law School student who was not allowed to testify at a House Committee hearing on the religious exemption on contraception coverage and women’s health, a “slut.” Limbaugh remarked on his radio show, “What does it say about the college [sic] co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), in a joint statement with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), responded with sharp criticism, stating, Sandra Fluke “courageously spoke truth to power. As a result, today, she has been subject to attacks that are outside the circle of civilized discussion and that unmask the strong disrespect for women held by some in this country. We call upon the Republican leaders in the House to condemn these vicious attacks on Ms. Fluke…”

In mid-February, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, refused to allow Fluke to testify at a hearing in mid-February: “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” Chairman Issa did not allow the Democratic minority to have a single witness at last week’s hearing, allowing testimony only from those opposed to the Obama Administration’s decision on women’s access to contraception to testify. Moreover, the hearing’s primary panel did not include a single woman, prompting Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to ask “Where are the Women?”

Last week, Leader Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering Committee held a hearing concerning the religious exemption on contraception coverage and women’s health, inviting Sandra Fluke as the sole witness. There Fluke spoke out for the importance of the Obama Administration’s rule to ensure that Catholic students have access to contraceptive coverage both to treat a host of medical conditions, such as ovarian cysts, and for birth control under the preventive care package of the Affordable Care Act.

Politico 3/1/12; Huffington Post 2/29/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/24/12

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