Photo: Courtesy of CNN
Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law school student at the centre of the Rush Limbaugh “slut” controversy, took a stand against her conservative detractors this morning, reemerging on CNN to promise that she will not be “silenced” by Limbaugh’s “smears.””Opponents of reproductive health access demonized and smeared me and others on the public airwaves,” Fluke wrote in a commentary for CNN.com. “These smears are obvious attempts to distract from meaningful policy discussions and to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care. These attempts to silence women and the men who support them have clearly failed.”
“Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us,” she added.
In an interview on CNN’s “Early Start,” Fluke elaborated on her op-ed, explaining that she wrote the piece to combat misinformation about the contraception debate.
“I wanted people to understand that this is neither government-subsidized contraception nor is contraception as incredibly cheap as some people have shared,” Fluke said, adding that her Congressional testimony was about whether private employers should be required to cover contraception in their employee health plans.
Fluke’s appearance is likely to fuel the controversy that has erupted in the wake of Limbaugh’s verbal assault. Although Limbaugh has apologized for calling the 30-year-old law student a “slut” and a “prostitute,” conservative pundits have taken to the ramparts to cast Fluke as a Democratic pawn. The right-wing blogosphere has dug up Fluke’s resume to support this theory, pointing out that she has a history of women’s rights activism and once supported a law to prevent employer discrimination against LGBT peoples.
Fox News’ firebrand Bill O’Reilly has been particularly outspoken about his distaste for Fluke, saying last week that she had “allowed herself to be run by very, very high forces.” He also suggested that she might be getting financial backing from Democrats.
“For six days, we have been telling you that the 30-year-old Georgetown law student has become a major player in the presidential election,” O’Reilly said during his show last Friday. “Last night, we reported that she is now being handled pro bono, for free, by [former Obama aide Anita Dunn’s] PR firm SKDKnickerbocker, which is good, because Sandra doesn’t have enough money to buy birth control pills, as we know. But there is more to Sandra’s story than just contraception. Right now, she’s on spring break in California with her boyfriend, who is the son of Democratic stalwart William Mutterperl. He has made at least 56 donations to Democratic candidates or organisations. Nothing wrong with that — I’m just pointing it out.”
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