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Author Topic: Backlash against Sandra Fluke  (Read 7388 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« on: March 11, 2012, 12:04:05 AM »
A certain radio personality (whom we don't link to on this site because of his extremely narrow viewpoint, but I'm guessing many of you know who it is) went on a rant fairly recently about Sandra Fluke's testimony in support of contraception in health care policies.

Calling Ms. Fluke several names and suggesting that she make a sex tape for everyone to watch, said radio personality incited quite a bit of ire against himself. I haven't seen much talk of it on Facebook, but it's all over Twitter, and I've personally been pressuring those companies of which I am a patron not to advertise on his show. I don't want any of my money going to him.

I was honestly surprised not to see a topic here about it, so I thought I would start one and see what people had to say. The points that I feel are relevant and my views on them are thus:

This is not a conservative or progressive issue. It's not a right-wing or left-wing issue. By launching his strong personal attacks against Ms. Fluke, the radio personality was denigrating women in general. It sent a message to the tune of, "How dare she make demands having to do with sex?" I don't like that. I think that sex is and should remain part of a healthy young (or old!) woman's lifestyle. If her religious views preclude that, she will have to reconcile it for herself, but it is not this guy's place to blast someone for asking for basic health care coverage.

Anti-Fluke folks have been saying that Ms. Fluke chose to attend her university specifically to battle the university's religious precepts and policies. This is held up as foolishness, hubris, and arrogance. I believe that this, too, is misguided. If Ms. Fluke chose to attend Georgetown in order to try to break down the barriers there, it's no worse than women choosing to attend places like the Virginia Military Academy in order to fight against administrative discrimination. We must fight systematic discrimination in all its forms, and I applaud Ms. Fluke for doing so.

Bill Maher's name has been brought up, and it's been asked why no one boycotted him when he called Palin "the c-word". Bill Maher is a separate (but related) issue. I feel that it's essentially moving the goalposts to point to him and say "Well, he was able to do that and you didn't care." It's not that I and others didn't care. It's that Bill Maher a) has nowhere near the power in politics as the radio commenter that lashed out against Ms. Fluke, and b) it was nowhere near as vehement and bilious as the attack on Ms. Fluke. It's a difference of magnitude.

There are several other facets to the discussion, but those are the ones that come to mind most, so I started with them. :)

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2012, 05:01:29 AM »
I agree with Ms. Fluke.  Good sex care is important, these days.  And not just for women, all genders can benefit from smart sex education.  The rest of that her transcript, is mostly politics.

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2012, 05:40:16 AM »
The bit after the second 'break' is something that is really neither 'sex education' nor 'politics'.  PCOS and endometriosis affect women whether or not they have sex, and have nothing to do with the issues that the ultra-cons use to demonize birth control. 

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2012, 08:38:25 AM »
Gee.  I though law students went to Georgetown because it is what one of the top 10 schools in the country?  Graduate with honors there and you are pretty much set once you pass the bar right?

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2012, 08:56:33 AM »
I thought so, too.

And now you have Bill Maher essentially gaslighting the movement to pull the radio personality's funding. "No big deal, he made a bad joke and he apologized." Made a bad joke?  >:( >:( >:(

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2012, 09:47:45 AM »
The Healthcare Question
Elected officials have no right to try to legislate healthcare availability to anyone as long as they are the beneficiaries of publicly funded healthcare insurance.  Tax dollars (from those who pay taxes) fund the health insurance benefits of Congressional Representatives and Senators and as long as I'm paying taxes I want the same sort of healthcare they are given access to.

The Responsibility Question
I take exception to the sliding scale of responsibility meted out on comments entertainers like Bill Maher and he-who-must-not-be-named and those others who use their media access to bash individuals with whom they disagree.  Whether you are left, right, middle, red, blue or a seventh dimension extra-terrestrial you lose all credibility when you descend to scatological verbiage to express your opinion.  When you choose to make yourself a public figure and set yourself up as someone who wants to influence the thinking of others you need to take responsibility for your words and the results of what you say.  When you choose to do this for money as these media personalities have you have an even greater responsibility to those who watch and listen.

Money is the reason these people are in the media and money is the only means of punishment they will understand.  I don't have faith in anyone who does it for the money and haven't since the day I attended a lecture and learned from his own lips the university professor and author who was speaking did not personally espouse the beliefs and opinions he wrote about and taught.  It was a popular concept at the time and he was in it for the money, fame and tenure.


Offline Robelwell202

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2012, 09:59:48 AM »
Point, the first.

Miss Fluke's tirade was inaccurate, to start with.  $3,000 a month for birth control?  PUH-leeze!!  So, she's either a fool (A likely prospect), or she's a flat-out liar (Another likely prospect).  Her rant to whoever she made these claims to is absurd for this fact alone.

Point, the second.

First off, the ridiculous nature of the tirade suggests that, while Miss Fluke, an ADULT, should be able to have sex with anyone she likes, and not take the simple baasic precautions we're all taught in grade school, she wants other people, in the form of taxation, to pay for her irresponsibility.  Furthermore, her attitude suggests that she feels entitled to 'coverage' for something that, by rights, is what would be considered an 'elective' medical procedure, and isn't life threatening.

I find it hilarious that, while people who side with her point of view are so quick to condemn the 'Radio Host' for his response, absolutely no one on the liberal side of things ever considers the idea of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!  If she's so scared about getting pregnant, then there's a simple cure!  DON'T HAVE SEX!!

It's not my responsibility, as a tax payer, to ensure that you can get it on whenever you want, and not deal with the consequences.

Point, the third.

The comparison of 'Radio Host' and Bill Maher is a valid one, and completely legitimate.  There's a distinct and horrible double standard where this kind of thing goes on, and when it's a conservative person that gets attacked, no one seems to care.  However, give one bad thought to a liberal's standpoint (Such as 'Take responsibility for yourself'), then the whole world's going to collapse under the oppresive tyrany of the speaker!!

Such bullshit.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2012, 10:12:38 AM »
Point, the first.

Miss Fluke's tirade was inaccurate, to start with.  $3,000 a month for birth control?  PUH-leeze!!  So, she's either a fool (A likely prospect), or she's a flat-out liar (Another likely prospect).  Her rant to whoever she made these claims to is absurd for this fact alone.

Let me help you with that reading thing:
Quote from: Sandra Fluke
Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.

(Emphasis mine.) Law school takes more than one month, by the way.

Point, the second.

Going to break your point the second into pieces because it covers like three points.

First off, the ridiculous nature of the tirade suggests that, while Miss Fluke, an ADULT, should be able to have sex with anyone she likes, and not take the simple baasic precautions we're all taught in grade school, she wants other people, in the form of taxation, to pay for her irresponsibility.  Furthermore, her attitude suggests that she feels entitled to 'coverage' for something that, by rights, is what would be considered an 'elective' medical procedure, and isn't life threatening.

I don't know if you realize this, but other peoples' health insurance policies aren't paid for by taxation. They're paid for by the person getting the coverage, and sometimes in part by the employer. She wasn't asking for subsidized health care; she was asking for medical coverage from her insurance company. Furthermore, it had nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with the treatment of medical conditions that are best handled by controlling hormone levels inside the body.

She mentioned nothing about her own sex life, and in fact specifically said she was speaking for others and not herself.

Quote from: Sandra Fluke
And so, I’m here today to share their voices, and I want to thank you for allowing [my fellow students] – not me – to be heard.

I find it hilarious that, while people who side with her point of view are so quick to condemn the 'Radio Host' for his response, absolutely no one on the liberal side of things ever considers the idea of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!  If she's so scared about getting pregnant, then there's a simple cure!  DON'T HAVE SEX!!

"Just say no" didn't work for DARE and it doesn't work for sex. Furthermore, she didn't talk about being scared of getting pregnant. She talked about life-threatening consequences from not having access to hormonal medication for women with conditions like PCOS.

It's not my responsibility, as a tax payer, to ensure that you can get it on whenever you want, and not deal with the consequences.

Oh-kay. Non-sequitur much?

Point, the third.

The comparison of 'Radio Host' and Bill Maher is a valid one, and completely legitimate.  There's a distinct and horrible double standard where this kind of thing goes on, and when it's a conservative person that gets attacked, no one seems to care.  However, give one bad thought to a liberal's standpoint (Such as 'Take responsibility for yourself'), then the whole world's going to collapse under the oppresive tyrany of the speaker!!

Such bullshit.

Since you were able to find your way onto this website, I assume you know how to read and write. So I'm confused as to why you didn't bother to read a) my first post, b) the subsequent posts, or c) the linked transcripts and news stories. Please feel free to come back when you've bothered to educate yourself, because your entire post was bullshit based on spin doctoring and second-hand lies about what the testimony actually contained.

Thank you.

Offline Lilias

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 10:33:00 AM »
This blog post starts from the particular event, as well as its context, and - as usual - sparks a great discussion in the comments section. You may not want to read them all; there's a lot of them, and the place has its own resident gatecrashing troll clan, but there are some great links in several of them.

But... 'bad joke'? I'm insulted by the suggestion that there was anything remotely funny about the particular comment. Even if there were, to start with, it would have evaporated in light of this. When one is a public person, one has to be doubly aware of possible consequences before opening their big gob.

Offline Robelwell202

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2012, 10:48:29 AM »
I respectfully withdraw my comments.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 11:35:24 AM »
I'm sorry, Robelwell, for the tone of my post; I didn't mean to be quite so harsh.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2012, 11:55:04 AM »
The bit after the second 'break' is something that is really neither 'sex education' nor 'politics'.  PCOS and endometriosis affect women whether or not they have sex, and have nothing to do with the issues that the ultra-cons use to demonize birth control.

This blog post starts from the particular event, as well as its context, and - as usual - sparks a great discussion in the comments section. You may not want to read them all; there's a lot of them, and the place has its own resident gatecrashing troll clan, but there are some great links in several of them.

But... 'bad joke'? I'm insulted by the suggestion that there was anything remotely funny about the particular comment. Even if there were, to start with, it would have evaporated in light of this. When one is a public person, one has to be doubly aware of possible consequences before opening their big gob.

I agree that women with non-sexual needs for birth control should have access.  So does Georgetown.

[quote from Sandra Fluke]“A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown’s insurance because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy.
[/quote]

Emphasis mine.  Do a search for the words "technically covered" if you don't believe me.  So yes, Georgetown, a Catholic university, does provide birth control when it's for health reasons.

People already agree that if you need birth control for reasons other than casual sex, that you should be able to get it.  The issue is purely about casual sex.

Let's remove the medical reasons and only talk about the casual sex part of this conversation.

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2012, 11:59:04 AM »
However, that particular woman was unable to get them to reimburse her for the pills the way they were 'technically' supposed to.

Two paragraphs down:

Quote
“For my friend and 20% of the women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription. Despite verifications of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy. She’s gay. So clearly polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy for her.
“After months paying over $100 out-of-pocket, she just couldn’t afford her medication anymore, and she had to stop taking it.

The medical reasons are not something you can simply 'remove' from the conversation.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2012, 12:07:27 PM »
I'll certainly agree that they should be covered, and that the insurance company will do everything in their power to gouge her.  However, I disagree that the only way to handle this is to make birth control available to everyone purely for medical reasons. 

Surely there's more than enough lawyers who would gladly take this case to trial, win millions for that friend, and set the precedent that women who obviously need birth control for medical reasons should be reimbursed.

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Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2012, 12:15:31 PM »
Alright, then, let's talk about casual sex.  Viagra is covered under most insurance plans.  Viagra is not birth control, and is not used to treat anything other than erectile dysfunction.  In fact, unlike 'The Pill', Viagra must be taken before each sexual encounter.  As such, it facilitates 'casual sex' in a manner that is more directly proportional than the manner in which 'The Pill' facilitates casual sex (as 'The Pill' is taken once a day, whether the woman has sex once a month or multiple times a day.)

So, by your argument, Viagra shouldn't be covered by insurance companies either.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2012, 12:16:25 PM »
Makes perfect sense to me.

Offline Sure

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2012, 12:16:33 PM »
Honestly, I feel no compulsion to support women having more privileges or rights than I do. Men do not have insurance covered birth control (a lot of people have been comparing it to insurance covered Viagra, but anyone who thinks Viagra=birth control is... very, very wrong) nor do they have billions of dollars poured into men's health issues. Scientists announced in the sixties at the latest they could make a male 'pill' but there's never been any widespread support, for example. So when it comes to women complaining about how their funding is being cut I see it as a group with privileges beyond mine being refused access to what they are used to, and feel the appropriate level of sympathy.

If someone were to introduce something to force gender neutrality into what is currently a system very in favor of women (women paid more because they get more services), including birth control, I would support it wholeheartedly.

As for the hearings themselves, as I understand it the one Fluke was denied into was on the religious view of contraception. In which case her exclusion was justified, no one is calling Fluke a respected religious figure or an expert on religion, and the separate session was just a Democratic hissy fit. Furthermore, as a law student, I'm not sure why she was invited at all. She's certainly not an expert on anything. And as to the complaints the panel was all male, honestly that will fall upon flat ears until every time, as an example, N.O.W. says something its taken as a legitimate criticism that its run entirely by women and thus doesn't get the male view. And N.O.W. undeniably deals with issues that effect men.

As for Limbaugh (why leave his name out?), I'm not sure if it's something you can generalize, that he's attacking all women or anything of that sort. I honestly just see it as another piece of inflammatory dialogue, no different than when Rage Against the Machine said all members of the Bush Administration should be shot. It's stupid, and insulting, but does speak for a certain far from center segment of the population, which the speaker is trying to mobilize.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2012, 12:30:04 PM »
Sure, my only knowledge on the Viagra part of this is what Oniya said, but I'm going to agree that if the only purpose of a drug is to allow people to have sex, Viagra would be equivalent to the pill for those with no medical problems such as the unnamed friend.

For medical problems requiring birth control, it should certainly be allowed, and it is by stated policy.  If they're shirking their stated policy, bring in the lawsuits.  That's what they exist for, and we have more than enough people who will take on the case for no money down.

I don't even want to get into the not-using-names aspect until we can agree on what the medical process should be.  I would be shocked if people don't all see the double standard by now, but it'll continue for as long as women stand for it, and since they don't care when liberals do it, of course conversatives will as well.  However, that needs to wait until we can agree on what we're even arguing about, and then we can start talking about what behavior is inexcusable on all sides.

Offline vtboy

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2012, 12:30:39 PM »
The crassness and cruelty of this unnamed radio host's remarks about Ms. Fluke are emblematic of the decline in civility which has come to permeate so much of our political and cultural discourse. Considerations of simple decency aside, the controversy over the present incident serves well to illustrate just how counterproductive such resort to vituperation and ad hominem attack is.

Regardless of one's point of view on the question of whether health insurers should be required to pay for contraceptive medication (yes, I understand that the medications have therapeutic uses as well), it is difficult to deny that there is a question which not only has two sides, but is worthy of serious  debate. Yet, for the past week or so since the comments were first made and then, remarkably, compounded, the airwaves and print media have been cluttered, to the near exclusion of the subject about which Ms. Fluke actually spoke, with their repetition and with almost obsessive fixation on the boorishness of the speaker.       

Perhaps, of course, this was the speaker's intention -- to distract from the discussion of the merits of compulsory insurance coverage for women's birth control. If so, he has certainly succeeded to a great degree, and regrettably done so with the assistance of his detractors. For this reason, no matter what Bill Maher's other faults may be, I think he was correct in urging that offered apology be accepted and that speaker's critics move on.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2012, 12:58:35 PM »
Towards the question as to whether contraception should be paid for purely for the sake of avoiding pregnancy, I'm going to say no.  Absolutely for medical reasons, but just to avoid pregnancy, no.

The reason I'm going to give is that not all religions agree upon contraception, and if you claim that the irreligious should not have to deal with matters  that are only agreed upon by the religious, then the religious should also not have to deal with matters that are only desired by the irreligious.

This is a major reason for not having public funding of abortion.  (Yes, I know we do, but we're not supposed to.)  That's the compromise: only working towards the common good, when the religious and irreligious agree.

Either we should promote both things wanted by religious and irreligious, or we should only promote things which are promoted by both.  Anything else is a double standard.

Offline Shjade

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2012, 01:20:15 PM »
The reason I'm going to give is that not all religions agree upon contraception, and if you claim that the irreligious should not have to deal with matters  that are only agreed upon by the religious, then the religious should also not have to deal with matters that are only desired by the irreligious.

Separation of church and state negates your position. Religion should have no bearing on what the government does or does not do.

Private organizations have their own policies, of course.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2012, 01:25:07 PM »
I think it's a bad sign when the conversation about female birth control is in such a bad light but it's considered 'crass' by critics to point out a purely sexual thing like vigara is politely ignored in the same conversation. I also find it disconcerting that a purely MALE outlook is being consulted by the committe that Ms. Fluke was complaining about. Tell me why, religious reasons aside, should the opinions of male priests be given more weight than those of female doctors?

I could make a crass remark about the recent history of the Roman Catholic Church, but I will instead point this out. Enable the insurers to exclude something like birth control for one reason..and next they'll find a reason to exclude YOUR medications for another. As someone who occasionally needs chemical assistance to keep certain neurochemical mechanisms in balance, I'd rather not have them getting the leverage.

After all, to use the arguement of 'interfering with natural courses' could mean that my own condition is the way I'm SUPPOSED to be.

Offline Shjade

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2012, 01:30:11 PM »
But it is the way you're supposed to be.

We just want you to be different. @.@

Offline AndyZ

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2012, 01:30:56 PM »
Separation of church and state negates your position. Religion should have no bearing on what the government does or does not do.

Private organizations have their own policies, of course.

Common misconception about how the separation of church and state works.  Here's the first amendment for you.

Quote
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The first amendment protects the church from the state, not the state from the church.  It blocks the government from affecting religion, not the other way around.

The misconception is what allows people to force others to take down religious paraphernalia, even when doing so clearly violates the free exercise of their religion.

Online Jefepato

Re: Backlash against Sandra Fluke
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2012, 01:52:26 PM »
Common misconception about how the separation of church and state works.  Here's the first amendment for you.

The first amendment protects the church from the state, not the state from the church.  It blocks the government from affecting religion, not the other way around.

The misconception is what allows people to force others to take down religious paraphernalia, even when doing so clearly violates the free exercise of their religion.

Actually, it protects both the church and state from each other -- you really can't do one in a fair or honest manner without doing the other.  The government can't tell people how to practice their religions, but it also can't, for example, pass laws based on purely religious principles or enact legislation to punish minority religions.

Even if you disagree with this principle for some reason, it's well-settled precedent and thus the law of the land.