Monday, March 05, 2012

Rush Still Doesn't Get It

Thanks to pressure from a few Republican leaders and the loss of at least half-a-dozen sponsors, Rush Limbaugh has issued an apology to Sandra Fluke for calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute." And, in that apology, manages to once again ignore the point of her testimony before Congress, lie about the purpose of the hearing, and make her out to be a self-absorbed sexual adventurer.

"I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke," Rush's apology states, after three days of on-air attacks that included the above remarks, as well as repeatedly stating that she is "having so much sex she can't pay for her birth control," and suggesting that if she's going to force others to pay for her sexual activities she should videotape them and post them online for us all to see.

The "apology" continues:
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.
A few points for those who may be tempted to agree with the above statements, or anything else Rush has said on the topic:
  • Ms. Fluke's testimony had nothing whatsoever to do with her sex life. She was speaking on behalf of a friend who lost an ovary. The friend had been prescribed birth control pills to help control ovarian cysts, but because her health insurance did not cover "contraception" she could not take the medication, and she lost the ovary. Yes, "birth control" is prescribed for a number of reasons beyond the desire for "guiltless sex."
  • The hearing was not about whether or not American citizens should pay for the "sexual recreation" of others. The topic before Congress last week was whether or not private employers should be allowed "moral exemptions" from new requirements that birth control be included under preventive health care coverage. As stated, this is not about "sexual recreation," it's about family planning and access to prescriptions for a number of health concerns.
  • Rush repeatedly suggested that if somebody has trouble affording birth control pills, it must be related to the amount of sexual activity they are having. I have trouble believing that a man over 60, who has had four wives, does not know how the pill works, but one takes the same number of pills, regardless of how often they have sex, or how many partners they have, or whether they are a single college student or a married person.
This non-apology may appease a few of his advertisers and take the heat off Republican leaders to call him out, but it perpetuates the misinformation that was behind his insulting, sexist tirades.

Insurance that includes contraception adds no additional cost to the premium, and may actually reduce premiums. Insurance is all about risk, and insurers prefer a known, relatively low cost to the risk of a much higher cost. In other words, paying for birth control pills at about $900-1,200/year is better for the insurance company than the risk of paying for a pregnancy, including prenatal check-ups, hospital delivery, risks of complications... (a minimum of $10,000+).

And let's not forget that most pregnancies end by adding a new dependent to the policy; a new dependent who will require much expensive attention in those first few years. Contraception is a bargain to insurance companies compared to the risk of pregnancy.

It's not the insurance industry that's trying to get contraception removed from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. It's religious zealots and right wing clowns like Rush, who have to resort to misrepresentation, insults, and outright lies to score political points. Apology not accepted.

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