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Sandra Fluke's Testimony - What The Right Wing Doesn't Want You to Hear

ProudProgressive 2012/03/03 02:16:58
Last week, Congressional Republicans staged a staged "hearing" to further their goal of denying access to birth control to as many American women as possible. Not a single woman was permitted to testify at this sham "hearing". To TRY to balance the record, another hearing was scheduled at which Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University Law Student who has been involved in the fight to protect women's rights for years, gave her story. Since then she has been mercilessly slandered by the Republicans' spokesperson, resident mysogynistic racist drug addict Rush Limbaugh. The reaction from America has been predictable - several major sponsors have already announced plans to stop funding Limbaugh's ongoing hate campaign, and more are likely to come. The reaction from the Right Wing has also been typical - after ignoring the story entirely for as long as they could, Fox put on their own resident hatemonger, Bill O'Reilly, to continue the attacks on Ms. Fluke.

Lost in all of this is the real story. Sandra Fluke's testimony was a powerful message about the real danger that this extremist war on women poses to American women. Far from "blabbing about her sex life", as Limbaugh and the other liars have tried to paint her, she told real stories about real people who have already been hurt by the Right Wing's heartless politics. The Right Wing is afraid of people like Sandra Fluke because they are real people, and other real people listen to real people. The Right Wing has invested everything they have in their false narrative of lazy sluts taking the money out of the pockets of hard working CEOs, and they fear the Sandra Flukes of this country more than they fear Barack Obama.

Please take the time to read what she had to say before you reach any conclusions. Then tell us whether you believe that this is a "slut" looking for a handout so she can have more sex, or if this is a concerned and impressive private citizen who has devoted her time and energies to trying to improve the lives of millions.

Article follows:

Testimony of Sandra Fluke.

Leader Pelosi, Members of Congress, good morning, and thank you for calling this
hearing on women's health and allowing me to testify on behalf of the women who
will benefit from the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage regulation. My
name is Sandra Fluke, and I'm a third year student at Georgetown Law, a Jesuit
school. I'm also a past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive
Justice or LSRJ. I'd like to acknowledge my fellow LSRJ members and allies and
all of the student activists with us and thank them for being here today.
Georgetown LSRJ is here today because we're so grateful that this regulation
implements the nonpartisan, medical advice of the Institute of Medicine. I attend a
Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in its student health
plan. Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a
result, employees at religiously affiliated hospitals and universities across the
country have suffered similar burdens. We are all grateful for the new regulation
that will meet the critical health care needs of so many women. Simultaneously,
the recently announced adjustment addresses any potential conflict with the
religious identity of Catholic and Jesuit institutions.

When I look around my campus, I see the faces of the women affected, and I have
heard more and more of their stories. . On a daily basis, I hear from yet another
woman from Georgetown or other schools or who works for a religiously
affiliated employer who has suffered financial, emotional, and medical burdens
because of this lack of contraceptive coverage. And so, I am here to share their
voices and I thank you for allowing them to be heard.

Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during
law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships,
that's practically an entire summer's salary. Forty percent of female students at
Georgetown Law report struggling financially as a result of this policy. One told
us of how embarrassed and powerless she felt when she was standing at the
pharmacy counter, learning for the first time that contraception wasn't covered,
and had to walk away because she couldn't afford it. Women like her have no
choice but to go without contraception. Just last week, a married female student
told me she had to stop using contraception because she couldn't afford it any
longer. Women employed in low wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face
the same choice.

You might respond that contraception is accessible in lots of other ways.
Unfortunately, that's not true. Women's health clinics provide vital medical
services, but as the Guttmacher Institute has documented, clinics are unable to
meet the crushing demand for these services. Clinics are closing and women are
being forced to go without. How can Congress consider the Fortenberry, Rubio,
and Blunt legislation that would allow even more employers and institutions to
refuse contraceptive coverage and then respond that the non-profit clinics should
step up to take care of the resulting medical crisis, particularly when so many
legislators are attempting to defund those very same clinics?

These denials of contraceptive coverage impact real people. In the worst cases,
women who need this medication for other medical reasons suffer dire
consequences. A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome
and has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries.
Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown insurance because it's not
intended to prevent pregnancy. Under many religious institutions' insurance plans,
it wouldn't be, and under Senator Blunt's amendment, Senator Rubio's bill, or
Representative Fortenberry's bill, there's no requirement that an exception be
made for such medical needs. When they do exist, these exceptions don't
accomplish their well-intended goals because when you let university
administrators or other employers, rather than women and their doctors, dictate
whose medical needs are legitimate and whose aren't, a woman's health takes a
back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body.

In sixty-five percent of cases, our female students were interrogated by insurance
representatives and university medical staff about why they needed these
prescriptions and whether they were lying about their symptoms. For my friend,
and 20% of women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover
her prescription, despite verification of her illness from her doctor. Her claim was
denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted the birth control to
prevent pregnancy. She's gay, so clearly polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much
more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy. After months of paying over $100
out of pocket, she just couldn't afford her medication anymore and had to stop
taking it. I learned about all of this when I walked out of a test and got a message
from her that in the middle of her final exam period she'd been in the emergency
room all night in excruciating pain. She wrote, "It was so painful, I woke up
thinking I'd been shot." Without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the
size of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery to remove
her entire ovary. On the morning I was originally scheduled to give this testimony,
she sat in a doctor's office. Since last year's surgery, she's been experiencing night
sweats, weight gain, and other symptoms of early menopause as a result of the
removal of her ovary. She's 32 years old. As she put it: "If my body indeed does
enter early menopause, no fertility specialist in the world will be able to help me
have my own children. I will have no chance at giving my mother her desperately
desired grandbabies, simply because the insurance policy that I paid for totally
unsubsidized by my school wouldn't cover my prescription for birth control when I
needed it." Now, in addition to potentially facing the health complications that
come with having menopause at an early age-- increased risk of cancer, heart
disease, and osteoporosis, she may never be able to conceive a child.

Perhaps you think my friend's tragic story is rare. It's not. One woman told us
doctors believe she has endometriosis, but it can't be proven without surgery, so
the insurance hasn't been willing to cover her medication. Recently, another friend
of mine told me that she also has polycystic ovarian syndrome. She's struggling to
pay for her medication and is terrified to not have access to it. Due to the barriers
erected by Georgetown's policy, she hasn't been reimbursed for her medication
since last August. I sincerely pray that we don't have to wait until she loses an
ovary or is diagnosed with cancer before her needs and the needs of all of these
women are taken seriously.

This is the message that not requiring coverage of contraception sends. A
woman's reproductive healthcare isn't a necessity, isn't a priority. One student
told us that she knew birth control wasn't covered, and she assumed that's how
Georgetown's insurance handled all of women's sexual healthcare, so when she
was raped, she didn't go to the doctor even to be examined or tested for sexually
transmitted infections because she thought insurance wasn't going to cover
something like that, something that was related to a woman's reproductive health.
As one student put it, "this policy communicates to female students that our school
doesn't understand our needs." These are not feelings that male fellow students
experience. And they're not burdens that male students must shoulder.

In the media lately, conservative Catholic organizations have been asking: what
did we expect when we enrolled at a Catholic school? We can only answer that we
expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable
burdens that impede our academic success. We expected that our schools would
live up to the Jesuit creed of cura personalis, to care for the whole person, by
meeting all of our medical needs. We expected that when we told our universities
of the problems this policy created for students, they would help us. We expected
that when 94% of students opposed the policy, the university would respect our
choices regarding insurance students pay for completely unsubsidized by the
university. We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that
if we wanted comprehensive insurance that met our needs, not just those of men,
we should have gone to school elsewhere, even if that meant a less prestigious
university. We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health, and we
resent that, in the 21st century, anyone thinks it's acceptable to ask us to make this
choice simply because we are women.

Many of the women whose stories I've shared are Catholic women, so ours is not a
war against the church. It is a struggle for access to the healthcare we need. The
President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges has shared that Jesuit colleges and
universities appreciate the modification to the rule announced last week. Religious
concerns are addressed and women get the healthcare they need. That is something we can all agree on. Thank you.

Read More: http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/statement-Co...

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  • Rusty's Mom 2012/03/07 18:32:00
    Rusty's Mom
    Sandra Fluke is ridiculous! Clinics with low cost birth control - despite her assertations that "clinics are closing," are still around and condoms cost less than lunch out.
    Rush is equally ridiculous; he took Ms. Fluke's absurd comment and did what he always does - answered in the absurd - and attached his own brand of exponent. Rush crossed the line, but he ALWAYS crosses the line. Without being outrageous, he would be off the air. Too many people take Rush to heart; I read an interview once where he said, "What I do is pure schtick!" He went on to say that he does believe in what he says... So, what that should tell us all is that he exaggerates for the sake of his brand of comedy... Don't like him? Don't listen. BACK in the DAY...I listened to him and the equally offensive Howard Stern enouch to know that I didn't like thier brand of "entertainment." He is still around because he feeds the need for this kind of controversy.. But, back to Ms. Fluke, she is really wanting too much of an entitlement. When I was in college, I had med coverage and I just paid for what it did not cover. It was a terrbile policy. But, I dealt with it because I knew that something greater awaited after college. When Ms. Fluke graduates, she can donate a generous portions of her salary - which...
    Sandra Fluke is ridiculous! Clinics with low cost birth control - despite her assertations that "clinics are closing," are still around and condoms cost less than lunch out.
    Rush is equally ridiculous; he took Ms. Fluke's absurd comment and did what he always does - answered in the absurd - and attached his own brand of exponent. Rush crossed the line, but he ALWAYS crosses the line. Without being outrageous, he would be off the air. Too many people take Rush to heart; I read an interview once where he said, "What I do is pure schtick!" He went on to say that he does believe in what he says... So, what that should tell us all is that he exaggerates for the sake of his brand of comedy... Don't like him? Don't listen. BACK in the DAY...I listened to him and the equally offensive Howard Stern enouch to know that I didn't like thier brand of "entertainment." He is still around because he feeds the need for this kind of controversy.. But, back to Ms. Fluke, she is really wanting too much of an entitlement. When I was in college, I had med coverage and I just paid for what it did not cover. It was a terrbile policy. But, I dealt with it because I knew that something greater awaited after college. When Ms. Fluke graduates, she can donate a generous portions of her salary - which should be substantial with a prestigious degree - to women's causes. Until then, make the trek to the clinic OR, if you are an intelligent women, date a man who can share the burdern of the buck it costs for condoms OR just stay home and study! If you are all grown up and so clever and smart, you can figure it out. This is a non- issue. Birth control was available back in the 1970's and is always there if you search it out.. Should be about as challenging as finding a Starbucks - and cheaper, too. Now, everyone, let's all see if we can get a few minutes before Congress to ask for better laws to protect children, who die just about every day at the hands of abusive parents - instead of having our lawmakers listen to another request - disguised as a women's rights issue - for funding the recreational sex lives of students.
    (more)
  • Rusty's... 2012/03/14 09:31:07
  • Live Free Or Die 2012/03/07 17:31:00
    Live Free Or Die
    +1
    Ms. Fluke's stood up for women and she said nothing about herself, just women with endometriosis, polycystic ovarian cysts, and a woman who was raped who felt no one would care so she didn't seek medical attention.

    Rush slandered her, lied and bashed her for days on end. That is disgraceful.

    I hope he gets fired and sued, as he must be held accountable for his actions, IMO.
  • Gloria 2012/03/03 18:46:50
    Gloria
    +8
    Sandra Fluke did nothing wrong. There are a few conservatives that are appalled at what Rush said. What if their daughters or sisters were treated this way? It's not alright at all.
  • Piper 2012/03/03 18:03:35
    Piper
    +7
    Thanks PP, I've been looking for the full transcript of her testimony. The slanderous assertions of Limbaugh and his faithful minions are absurd and sickening.
  • rustyshackelford 2012/03/03 17:57:58
  • Live Fr... rustysh... 2012/03/07 17:27:43
    Live Free Or Die
    +1
    WRONG. If the GOP Blunt Amendment had passed, insurance coverage could've been denied by any employer for any "religious" reason and that definitely would've made things worse for women. So, sorry you cannot read!
  • Latti I... Live Fr... 2012/03/07 18:00:14
  • Live Fr... Latti I... 2012/03/07 18:13:07
    Live Free Or Die
    +1
    Thanks. The party of "personal responsibility" always plays stupid. It gets old.
  • rustysh... Live Fr... 2012/03/07 23:09:34
  • rustysh... 2012/03/14 09:38:28
  • The Electrician 2012/03/03 13:23:54
    The Electrician
    +6
    Why are the Conservatives, especially the men, being so arbitrary about this matter ?
  • Guru_T_Firefly 2012/03/03 05:30:41
    Guru_T_Firefly
    +12
    Kudos, Sandra Fluke. Well said.
  • Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~ 2012/03/03 04:52:27
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +15
    Thank you, Sandra Fluke, for standing up for women's reproductive rights.

    Shame on you, Rush Limbaugh your vile comments about her.

    I'm proud of my president for calling Sandra to ask how she was faring after the Limbaugh event.

    And good for the companies that removed their sponsorship from his show.
  • The Electrician 2012/03/03 04:10:55
    The Electrician
    +13
    If Limbaugh had made that remark about one of my daughters, he'd probably be in an ICU right now. I noticed FOX didn't run his video. Chicken Chits.
  • mich52 2012/03/03 04:05:03
  • lurx: the soda jerk 2012/03/03 04:00:08
    lurx: the soda jerk
    +18
    What do you call a woman that has sex for money?

    ...any one of Limbaugh's former wives.

    woman sex money limbaughs wives
  • Latti I... lurx: t... 2012/03/03 04:05:08
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    +11
    lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...
  • Ali ~ I... lurx: t... 2012/03/03 04:53:43
  • melly~t... lurx: t... 2012/03/03 05:43:24
    melly~thwarting Satan since 1971
    +8
    And that is how it's done.
    happy girl
  • Philo-Publius 2012/03/03 03:44:32
    Philo-Publius
    +18
    Update: I don't know if you've heard this yet (just read this tonight), but President Obama called this woman personally to see if she was okay, because she had been bashed up and down all week by these conservative scumbags. Here's a few quotes from the LA Times article and a link. I have to say I was touched by the presidents compassion.

    The call from President Obama came on Friday morning, and he wanted to know if Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law school student who had been called a "slut" and a "prostitute” by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, was OK. As much as Fluke remembered what he said, she recalled how he sounded.

    “He was so kind,” she said in an interview. “I was just very impressed by that.”

    “When I said how important this policy was, he sort of wanted to move past that,” Fluke said. “He wanted to talk about whether or not I was OK.”

    He said that, “As a father of two daughters, he knew how proud that my parents would be, and he wanted me to tell them how proud they should be,” Fluke said. “And that was really touching.”


    http://www.latimes.com/news/p...
  • Ali ~ I... Philo-P... 2012/03/03 04:49:00
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +9
    I was just reading that. Good for the President.
  • Yakov BN-0 Philo-P... 2012/03/05 11:13:51
    Yakov BN-0
    +1
    That's gorgeous.
  • Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of ... 2012/03/03 03:40:25 (edited)
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    +15
    Once again some Social Conservatives are whining about nothing. If she is 'Paying' for 'Her' insurance and believes they should cover birth control pills, ok. Women don't just use this for sexual reasons, but for health reasons as well. Just like men don't use Viagra solely for medical reasons. Many use it to last longer in bed, and I am paying for it. (Double Standard)
  • Ali ~ I... Latti I... 2012/03/03 04:54:26
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +8
    Double standard AGAIN. Grrrrrr.....
  • NarcolepticGoat 2012/03/03 02:36:02
    NarcolepticGoat
    +16
    I'm surprised the insurance companies are going along with this. It costs more to pay for sugery, for that matter it costs more for pre-natal care and giving birth. It would be far cheaper for the insurance companies to approve coverage of the pill.
  • Freedom4 Narcole... 2012/03/03 02:43:15
    Freedom4
    +1
    Why, because you make that up? If that were the case, they wuld offer it. They are far better at crunching numbers than you or whatever liar you got that from.
  • Narcole... Freedom4 2012/03/03 02:59:28
    NarcolepticGoat
    +17
    "the generic version of the pill is available for $9 per month"

    So you are telling us that you believe 9 months of pre-natal care and childbirth cost less than 9 bucks a month?

    LOL

    LOL

    LOL

    Ok, now we know the validity of YOUR knowledgebase
  • Latti I... Narcole... 2012/03/03 03:37:32
    Latti Ice Ganga Gangsta of PHAET
    +12
    LOL! You just 'OWNED' him.
  • Guru_T_... Freedom4 2012/03/03 05:35:44
    Guru_T_Firefly
    +9
    Are you seriously trying to push the moronic idea that a three-month supply of contraceptives that cost about $60 are more expensive than a $12-40k surgical procedure? Are you completely nuts?
  • Freedom4 Guru_T_... 2012/03/03 14:25:27
    Freedom4
    Are you still trying to push the moronic idea that anyone can't come up with $9 per month and that for some reason I should have to pay for it?

    Let’s be honest about exactly what this is. It is nothing but Obama trying to buy votes by smashing freedom and the constitution. The democrats policies are so horrible that they manufacture this nonsensical argument in honest that there are enough idiots out there to ignore that Obama has been a horrible and failed president and that his ideology is failed. The democrats cannot even defend their failed policies so they resort to petty misdirection. They know that democrats are dumb and this is something shiny dangled in front of the dumb people to distract them. This is a war on Freedom and the constitution. Those of you nonsensical democrats that tried to say that Obama is not a socialist have been proven to be idiots as Obama shows a complete disregard for the constitution and literally controls every aspect of business and our personal lives. The government now dictated every function of business down to basic HR functions such as pay, hiring and firing, and even down to forcing businesses to provide birth control. The government and you democrats have no right and no business forcing any private person or company to do a darn t...
    Are you still trying to push the moronic idea that anyone can't come up with $9 per month and that for some reason I should have to pay for it?

    Let’s be honest about exactly what this is. It is nothing but Obama trying to buy votes by smashing freedom and the constitution. The democrats policies are so horrible that they manufacture this nonsensical argument in honest that there are enough idiots out there to ignore that Obama has been a horrible and failed president and that his ideology is failed. The democrats cannot even defend their failed policies so they resort to petty misdirection. They know that democrats are dumb and this is something shiny dangled in front of the dumb people to distract them. This is a war on Freedom and the constitution. Those of you nonsensical democrats that tried to say that Obama is not a socialist have been proven to be idiots as Obama shows a complete disregard for the constitution and literally controls every aspect of business and our personal lives. The government now dictated every function of business down to basic HR functions such as pay, hiring and firing, and even down to forcing businesses to provide birth control. The government and you democrats have no right and no business forcing any private person or company to do a darn thing. There is absolutely no constitutional justification for it. Democrats spit in the face of freedom and the constitution every chance they can. We are no longer free. We are controlled. Down to the freaking light bulbs we use.
    (more)
  • Guru_T_... Freedom4 2012/03/03 21:54:54
    Guru_T_Firefly
    +4
    Why don't you come back when you actually understand the issue being discussed and we can stop wasting time with all of your BS?
  • Freedom4 Guru_T_... 2012/03/04 01:37:00
    Freedom4
    I have a clear understading of the issue. The cry baby liberals do not think they should be responsible for anything for themselves.

    nail on the head
  • Guru_T_... Freedom4 2012/03/04 04:14:00
    Guru_T_Firefly
    +2
    No, I doubt there's much that you understand. If you did, you wouldn't believe the crap that you do.
  • Freedom4 2012/03/14 09:36:07
  • Blunder... Freedom4 2012/03/03 06:09:46
    BlunderWoman ~ FTGOP~ BN 0
    +3
    Accidental rave. You're welcome.
  • Freedom4 2012/03/03 02:33:12
    Freedom4
    +2
    What the ignorant left does not want you to ehar. This 30 year old law student, going to school on our dime, is demanding more like the typical unappreciative democrat she is. The ignorant left does not want you to know that the generic version of the pill is available for $9 per month, and if she would ot be buying so much alcohol, pot, smokes, or going out to eat one additional time per month she would have her birth control. But democrats hate the truth.
  • Narcole... Freedom4 2012/03/03 02:37:43
    NarcolepticGoat
    +9
    Oh, so you know her?
  • Freedom4 Narcole... 2012/03/03 02:42:25
    Freedom4
    +1
    I listened to her and simply repeated what was in her testimony. Why is it that democrats are completely incapable of even simple comprehension of words.
  • Narcole... Freedom4 2012/03/03 02:55:08
    NarcolepticGoat
    +11
    no you didn't, it isn't anywhere in that transcript.

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