By Gaetana Drake
If you watched the Democratic National Convention last night, you had the opportunity to listen to a speech given by Sandra Fluke.
Ms. Fluke is the young woman that Rush Limbaugh called a slut and a prostitute because she advocates for insurance coverage of birth control. Ms. Fluke was denied the opportunity to testify before a congressional panel formed to discuss birth control. I’d like to remind all of you that this was a panel comprised of MEN only! Ms. Fluke finally got to testify before an informal panel and voiced her opinion that insurance should cover contraceptives.
The birth control pill is used not only to prevent pregnancy, but for a variety of medical reasons. To regulate menstrual periods, to reduce the growth of ovarian cysts, to help relieve pain from migraine headaches, to treat severe acne, and to treat endometriosis.
The argument is being made that birth control is a “recreational” drug and therefore the government shouldn’t force insurers to cover it. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are purely recreational activities, yet insurance covers the medical treatment for all the illnesses and diseases caused by engaging in these activities.
The average woman spends 30 years of her life trying to prevent pregnancy. Birth control is preventive health-care, just like mammograms and pap smears and high blood pressure screenings.
If you don’t believe there is truly a war on women in this country, you simply haven’t been paying attention. Consider the following:
*Personhood amendments proposed that would ban the birth control pill and the IUD, the most commonly used and most effective methods of contraception.
*Todd Akin (R) believing that women don’t get pregnant as a result of “legitimate” rape because the female body can “shut down” that function.
*Steve King (R) saying “I’ve never heard of a child getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.
*Federal Judge James Leon Holmes, a Bush appointee, said in an article published circa 1997: “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”
*Dr. Richard Dobbins, who works in the emergency department at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Kenton, Ohio told the Columbus Dispatch in 2006, “I think that life begins when the chromosomes of the sperm and egg line up”. Dobbins also questioned the need for emergency contraception in rape cases, saying that most women “are not fertile during assault or do not become pregnant because the trauma prompts a hormonal response that prevents ovulation.” I wonder….do rapists only rape women who are not in their “fertile period”?
*In 1995, Republican Henry Aldridge told the House Appropriations Committee: “The facts show that people who are raped – who are truly raped – the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant”.
*Representative Stephen Freind, (R-Delaware County) said “the odds that a woman who is raped will get pregnant are ‘one in millions and millions’. The reason, he said, “is that the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to ‘secrete a certain secretion’ that tends to kill sperm.”
*Texas oilman Clayton Williams once ran against Ann Richards for Governor of Texas. During the campaign he said “Rape is like the weather, if it’s inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”
*Idaho Senator Chuck Winder (R) has made this unusual comment. “I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician, with a rape issue, that the physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape.” Apparently in his mind, it’s part of “normal relations in a marriage” for a husband to rape his wife.
*The GOP has finalized it’s party platform for this election. It includes NO exception for federal funding for abortions for victims of rape or incest. They are finally being honest enough to tell us that their goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade. Mitt Romney has said he would sign a “personhood amendment” which would effectively ban the birth control pill and the IUD. These are the most commonly used and most effective forms of birth control.
*Requiring a trans-vaginal probe (unpaid by insurance because it’s not medically required) prior to an abortion. One male politician had the audacity to say if a woman didn’t want to watch, she could “just close her eyes.”
*Wanting to change the Affordable Care Act to allow any employer to suddenly decide he has a “moral” objection to birth control and deny coverage.
*Requiring three visits to a doctor prior to an abortion.
*Failing to renew the Violence Against Women Act, because it now includes protections for lesbians, illegal immigrants and mail-order brides.
*Censoring elected female representatives for daring to say “vagina” while men are passing legislation that controls our vaginas.
*Requiring physicians to lie to their pregnant patients about the effects of abortion, saying that it causes a higher rate of suicide (no study has ever shown that) and that having an abortion can cause cancer. The truth is that carrying a pregnancy to term while you’re still a young woman tends to prevent cancer, but that does not equate to “having an abortion may cause cancer.”
*Re-defining “rape” to “forcible” rape in a proposed bill that would deny any federal funding of abortions for rape victims. Date rape, statutory rape, rape in a case where a woman is under the influence and unable to give consent….no longer considered rape in their minds.
*Representative Mike Kelly (R-Fl), stated “I know in your mind you can think of two times America was attacked. The first was December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day. The second was 9/11, the day we were attacked by terrorists. I want you to remember August 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom – that is a ‘day that will live in infamy’ along with the other dates”. Representative Kelly believes America has been attacked because insurances are now required to cover birth control.
*Republicans voted down the Fair Pay Act and Mitt Romney has said he would repeal the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Mind you, this act isn’t forcing employers to provide equal pay for equal work, it just gives women a legal recourse if they find they have been unfairly paid.
*Republicans have refused to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
*Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (R) has complained that the republican party is having to “cater” to women.
Ms. Fluke was viciously attacked by Rush Limbaugh over the course of several days. He repeatedly called her a slut and a prostitute, and even suggested that she should videotape her sexual activities so he could watch them. As a result of his vicious attacks, she received an incredible amount of support from the average American. Every one of us could imagine our daughter being verbally attacked for something as simple as standing up for what’s right.
Sandra Fluke is a graduate of Georgetown Law School. She is intelligent. She is articulate. She is proud. She walked onto the stage at the DNC with her head held high and received a standing ovation. She stood up to the male chauvinists like Rush Limbaugh and showed them that they could not silence her.
She is a young woman to be admired.