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article imageLimbaugh apologizes to Sandra Fluke for 'insulting word choices'

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 4, 2012 in Health
Yesterday, talk show host Rush Limbaugh apologized to Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke for calling her a "slut" and "prostitute" after she testified before Congress about the need for health insurance plans to cover the costs of contraception.
The full text of Limbaugh's apology, according to Huffington Post, read:
"For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.
"I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.
"My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."
Digital Journal reports Limbaugh launched personal attacks on Fluke after she appeared before Congress on February 23 and argued in favor of the need for health insurance plans to cover cost of contraception. Fluke's testimony had been before a Democrat-organized mock hearing after the Republican dominated Congress blocked her from testifying at an official Congress hearing.
Digital Journal reports President Obama made a phone call to Fluke to express his support and thank her for having the courage to come out and speak on an issue of public policy.
Limbaugh's comments caused a backlash as four sponsors pulled their ads from his show in response to the public outrage that followed.
Huffington Post reports that following Limbaugh's apology, another advertiser, Carbonite, posted a message on Facebook, saying it was ending its sponsorship of the show. The CEO of Carbonite, David Friend, said: "No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show."
Many critics would agree with the Carbonite CEO that Limbaugh's apology came too late. Digital Journal reports that following his initial comments on Wednesday, Limbaugh tuned up his attacks on Fluke on Thursday, saying he "would happily buy [Fluke] all the aspirin she wants" to put between her knees in place of contraceptives. He also extended his offer to all Georgetown University women: "I'm offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want."
On Friday, Limbaugh mocked Fluke following media reports that she received a phone call from the President. He said she should have disconnected the call in shame and hoped the media don't find her.
Huffington Post reports that Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of Ultraviolet, an online advocacy on women's issues, rejected Limbaugh's apology: "Rush's apology wasn't actually an apology. He did little more than continue to expose himself as the anti-woman and offensive media personality that he is. Our campaign to pressure advertisers to drop their sponsorship of his show will continue next week. No radio show that attacks women should be rewarded with advertising dollars. And more than 84,000 of our members who signed a petition in the last day agree."
Though Limbaugh in his apology, said the point he was trying to make was that taxpayers' money should not be used for contraception coverage, his slurs on air attempted to create the impression that only promiscuous women need contraception coverage in their health insurance plan. He said: "...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. If we are 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."
CBS, however, points out that Fluke made no reference to sex at the hearing but only talked about the importance of birth control coverage for Georgetown University students for health reasons.
Digital Journal reports Fluke said Limbaugh's attack was calculated to silence women. She said: "This language is an attack on all women, and has been used throughout history to silence our voices." CBS also reports she said: "It's an attempt to silence women. That's really what it's about, if we're called these names, then we'll go away and we won't demand the health care we deserve and we need and I think women have proven those folks wrong."
More about Rush limbaugh, sandra fluke, Contraception, Health insurance, georgetown university
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