Right-wing media figures jumped at reports that Sandra Fluke is running for political office in California with sexist attacks and falsehoods about her advocacy for the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) birth control mandate.
Sandra Fluke Filed Bid For Congressional Run, Ultimately Decided To Run For State Senate
Washington Post: Fluke Has Filed With The California State Democratic Party To Seek Endorsement For Retiring Rep. Waxman's Seat. On February 4, women's rights activist Sandra Fluke filed paperwork to seek the congressional seat currently held by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), as The Washington Post reported:
Fluke has filed with the California state Democratic Party to seek its endorsement in the race for retiring Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) seat, according to the state party Web site.
A state party delegate confirmed to Post Politics that Fluke has filed and paid the fee to appear on the ballot this weekend.
[Fluke] has a national profile thanks to her advocacy on contraception coverage under Obamacare, which in 2012 led conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh to call her a “slut” and later apologize. [The Washington Post, 2/4/13]
Los Angeles Times: Fluke Forgoes Congressional Bid To Run For State Senate. The night of February 4, Fluke announced that she would plan a bid for the state Senate instead of running for Congress. From The Los Angeles Times:
Democratic attorney and activist Sandra Fluke has decided against running for retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman's congressional seat, instead planning a bid for the state Senate.
“I am extremely moved by the outpouring of local and national support I have received since I announced that I was considering running for office. My entire career has been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking or advocating for working families,” Fluke said late Tuesday night. “I am committed to continuing that fight in Sacramento, working to protect our environment, ensure our access to health care, and create the jobs that are desperately needed. While I strongly considered offering my candidacy for Congress, I feel there is a better way for me to advance the causes that are important to our community.” [The Los Angeles Times, 2/5/14]
Fluke Testified Before Congress In 2012 “On Behalf Of The Women Who Will Benefit From The Affordable Care Act Contraceptive Coverage Regulation.” Fluke received national attention for her testimony before Democratic members of Congress in 2012 about the need for contraceptive coverage in the ACA. She explained that her testimony was on behalf of women “from Georgetown or from another schools or who works for a religiously affiliated employer” who have “suffered financially, emotionally, and medically because of this lack of [contraceptive] coverage,” and went on to detail the circumstances of a friend who needed contraceptive medicine to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome. Although Fluke briefly mentioned her personal use of contraceptive medicine, she never referenced whether it was a financial burden. [Politifact, 2/23/12]
Radio Host Rush Limbaugh On Fluke's Testimony: “It Makes Her A Slut, Right? It Makes Her A Prostitute.” After hearing of her testimony in support of the ACA's birth control mandate, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh smeared Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute,” comments that were roundly condemned and propelled Fluke into the national spotlight:
LIMBAUGH: What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.
She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps.
The johns, that's right. We would be the johns -- no! We're not the johns. Well -- yeah, that's right. Pimp's not the right word.
OK, so, she's not a slut. She's round-heeled. I take it back. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/29/12]
Right-Wing Media Respond With Sexist Attacks
MRC's Philbin Suggests Sexist Campaign Slogan. Managing editor at the conservative Media Research Center Matt Philbin responded to Fluke's reported Congressional run with sexual innuendo:
Erick Erickson Retweets: “Sandra Fluke Is a Joke.” Fox contributor Erick Erickson likewise attacked Fluke for her testimony supporting contraception coverage, retweeting the following photo:
Breitbart: “Sandra Fluke Aborts Congressional Bid.” Conservative blog Breitbart mocked Fluke's decision to run for state Senate by likening her choice to an abortion:
Fluke would likely have courted the women's vote in the district--which includes Malibu, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills--splitting it with Los Angeles mayoral runner-up Wendy Greuel and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson. Her decision to abort her congressional campaign at a very early stage may have avoided much of the national political controversy that a later decision to terminate the effort would likely have triggered. [Breitbart, 4/5/14]
Daily Caller: Fluke “Goes With Plan B.” The Daily Caller reacted to Fluke's announcement in a headline that derided her advocacy for contraception coverage by referring to her state Senate bid as “plan B.” [The Daily Caller, 4/5/14]
The Federalist Co-Founder Sean Davis: “I Presume She'll Want Us To Pay For” Her Senate Campaign, Too. Sean Davis, founder of the conservative web magazine The Federalist, attempted to link Fluke's ability to finance her Congressional campaign with her support of contraception coverage under the ACA: