Thanks to Rush Limbaugh's foul mouth, Sandra Fluke has become just such a martyr and, along with her, the Obama Administrations campaign to force religious institutions to tow the secular liberal ethical line in violation of their traditional principles.
For those who haven't been paying attention, Ms. Fluke is a 30 year old student at a Jesuit university who publicly stated before members of Congress (it's debatable if it was actually a hearing or a photo op for propaganda purposes) that just because she attends a Catholic university doesn't mean she should have to pay for her own oral contraceptives. How dare the Catholics inflict their doctrine on her? She is a young female, she wants to be sexually active and since she has a drug plan through the university she expects it to cover the Pill well as all other medications.
There are so many reasonable ways to respond to Ms. Fluke but unfortunately the one people will remember is Rush Limbaugh's. He called her a slut and accused her of all sorts of vile behaviours. As a result, the flaws in her arguments have long been forgotten as she has become the symbol of a cause, a symbol one dares not criticize.
Yet her position needs to be argued against, given its obvious flaws.
Consider, for example, that Ms. Fluke attends a Catholic university of her own volition. Upon applying for acceptance to that school she would surely have known that Catholics view any birth control with abhorrence. A quick check would have told her that oral contraceptives are not part of their drug program. Despite this she applied and chose to attend the school anyway and then demanded that they cover the cost of her contraception. After all, with tuition, food and lodging how is a girl supposed to avoid getting pregnant?
Then there's the stated reason she wants the contraception. This was definitely badly played by Ms. Fluke. There are, after all, many valid reasons for using the birth control pill such as difficulties with menstruation, regulation of periods, control of bleeding, etc. She didn't say she wanted the Pill for any of those things. No, she openly stated she wanted to have sexual intercourse at her leisure without worrying about getting pregnant. She might be in a monogamous long-term relationship for all I know and doesn't want to get pregnant so as not to interrupt the education she's getting from the school she's demanding change their beliefs to suit her. No, this doesn't make her a slut. It does, however, make her quite arrogant.
Finally there is the obvious: oral contraception is not a necessary medical service. If one has high blood pressure one needs to take blood pressure pills. If one has asthma one needs to use inhalers. However one does not need to have sex and even if one has the overwhelming urge to do so but still wishes to avoid pregnancy there are cheaper ways they can do so, like condoms or tasers (at the appropriate moment). The Pill is a luxury when it comes to contraception (as opposed to medically important conditions) and what Ms. Fluke is therefore asking the government to do is force a Catholic school to violate its beliefs and laws to fund that luxury.
There are other problems with her arguments, as the ever eloquent and brilliant Mark Steyn notes:
As almost all those fashionable split-the-difference fiscally conservative/socially liberal governors from George Pataki to California's pathetically terminated Terminator eventually discover, their social liberalism comes with a hell of a price tag. Ask the Greeks how easy it is for insolvent nations to wean the populace off unaffordable nanny-state lollipops: When even casual sex requires a state welfare program, you're pretty much done for.Unfortunately these arguments will drift in the wind and disappear because of Rush Limbaugh's idiocy. What could have been a defining moment for the folks opposed to Obamacare's intrustion into religious institutions will now turn into the trump card for the folks who don't mind that religious people exist as long as they don't let their beliefs get in the way of secular liberalism. Badly done, Rush.
No, the most basic issue here is not religious morality, individual liberty or fiscal responsibility. It's that a society in which middle-age children of privilege testify before the most powerful figures in the land to demand state-enforced funding for their sex lives at a time when their government owes more money than anyone has ever owed in the history of the planet is quite simply nuts.
As stark staring nuts as the court of Ranavalona, the deranged nymphomaniac queen of Madagascar at whose funeral the powder keg literally went up, killing dozens and burning down three royal palaces. Indeed, one is tempted to arrange an introduction between "T Squalls, 30," now 32 going on 33, and Sandra Fluke, 30 going on 31, like a skillfully negotiated betrothal between two royal houses in medieval Europe. The student prince would bring to the marriage his impressive fortune of a decade's worth of Trojan Magnums, while the Princess Leia would have a dowry of index-linked RU 486s settled upon her by HHS the Margravine of Sebelius. They would not be required to produce an heir.
Insane as this scenario is, the Democrat-media complex insists that everyone take it seriously. When it emerged the other day that Amanda Clayton, a 24-year-old Michigan million-dollar lottery winner, still receives $200 of food stamps every month, even the press and the bureaucrats were obliged to acknowledge the ridiculousness. Yet, the same people are determined that Sandra Fluke be treated with respect as a pioneering spokesperson for the rights of the horizontally challenged.