After conservative media spent days distorting and misinforming about her congressional testimony on contraception coverage, Georgetown Law school student Sandra Fluke responded on CNN by noting the facts of what she actually said:
I was actually speaking out about students and about low-income women across the country who need access to this care. It's unfortunate that some folks have made it so much about me and my access, because that was not what my testimony was about. And I would encourage people to take a look at that testimony.
On his Fox News show, however, Bill O'Reilly wasn't buying it. He stressed that Fluke "defines herself as a Georgetown Law student who $3,000 over three-year term -- that's what she said -- and she couldn't afford it. And neither of her friends couldn't afford it. That's the bottom line on that." He later stated: "In the truth serum context, she did talk about herself, she did make it personal, and now she's telling CNN she really didn't."
During her testimony before Democratic members of Congress, Fluke made clear that she was there to share the stories of other women, not herself. She stated:
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 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.
Fluke went on to testify about a student who needed contraceptive medicine to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome and recounted the story of a woman who had been raped to highlight the need for access to contraceptive medicine.
But O'Reilly and Fox News correspondent Juliet Huddy claimed her testimony was all about "her life" and about how "she couldn't afford" to purchase contraception.
In fact, Fluke did not say that purchasing contraception was a problem for her personally. In an exchange with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Fluke briefly mentioned her personal use of contraceptive medicine, but never referenced whether it was a financial burden:
REP. CUMMINGS: The -- you certainly speak for millions, and I think Chairman Issa did not understand why we wanted you to appear, because we were looking for someone to speak for women who want safe and affordable coverage for their basic preventative health care, including contraceptives.
Now for the benefit of those who may not understand, can you describe your qualifications for testifying about the restrictions on insurance coverage for contraceptives?
MS. FLUKE: Sure. I'm an American woman who uses contraception, so let's start there. That makes me qualified to talk to my elected officials about my health care needs.
Beyond that, I will say that I, along with the other members of Law Students for Reproductive Justice at Georgetown and so many other of the activists who've been working on this, have been looking at this for years. We've followed the regulations very closely and the legislation, and we've done studies at our campus documenting the needs of women. So this is something we take very seriously, and we have studied for quite some time. (via Nexis)
Later in the show, O'Reilly doubled down on his conspiracy theory that Fluke is some sort of plant run by Democrats in Congress and the White House.