Sandra Fluke Meets #BoycottRush: Contraceptive Coverage Opponents Stir Up a Hornet’s Nest Online

March 2nd, 2012

It really started with an image:

All-male lineup at contraceptive coverage hearing

The all-male, clerical-heavy line-up was speaking before Rep. Darrell Issa’s House hearing on the Obama administration’s new policy requiring contraceptive coverage in new health insurance policies, with a small exemption for churches that object. The photo and others like it quickly went viral, and for good reason: the all-male panel encapsulated many women’s sense that the pushback against the new rule was driven by certain men’s desire to control female sexuality.

The situation only intensified after Democrats asked Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who’d been barred from Issa’s hearing, to testify at a Hill event of their own. Rush Limbaugh promptly went nuclear on her for having the temerity to suggest that birth control might be valid health care; “slut” was one of the nicer things he said (earning her a defense from her university president and a call from the President President). Meanwhile, contraceptive coverage became an issue in the Republican presidential primary, prompting a quicker-than-average Mitt Romney flip-flop, and a Republican-sponsored repeal of the rule rose in the Senate (it died 51-48).

Where you REALLY felt the outrage about conservatives and contraception was online: the internet exploded. Besides our own (accelerated) campaign launch at NWLC, here’s a small sample:

Do conservatives have any idea what they’ve gotten themselves into? They’re basically having to defend a circa-1950 attitude that birth control equals sexual libertinism, implying that any woman on the pill is a slut on the loose — shouldn’t she be keeping that aspirin tight between her knees??? In the process, they’re driving female voters into Democratic arms…chastely or otherwise. I get the feeling these guys have wandered into a minefield and don’t quite know how to get out — whichever way they turn, BOOM! Keep it up, fellas….


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