Dear Rush Limbaugh: Birth Control Doesn’t Work Like Viagra
Once you wade through the bile and the realization that the country’s most popular conservative radio host has devoted hours on his show to attempting to bully a woman into silence for her views on birth control, it becomes clear that Limbaugh, a man over sixty who is now on his fourth marriage, does not seem to understand how birth control works. On Wednesday and Thursday, Limbaugh repeatedly suggested that the amount of sex a woman has is related to the amount of birth control she needs to take, as though women take birth control pills every day they have sex. This is how say, Viagra, the erectile dysfunction medication works. Aside from the morning after pill (which someone on regular birth control shouldn’t use), when and how much sex you have is unrelated to the amount of birth control you need.
Limbaugh is a figure of almost religious stature among conservatives—for Republican elected officials, criticizing him is particularly dangerous—so Republican lawmakers have largey remained mum on the Limbaugh’s despicable tirades. Some conservatives have tried to defend Limbaugh, however, arguing that his analogy, while crude, gets to a legitimate concern over whether religious organizations and insurance companies should have to “finance” someone else’s “sex life.”
The trouble with this analogy is that insurance companies already “subsidize” men’s sex lives, by covering erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra. That insurance companies were already covering those drugs was part of the reason why the Employment Equal Opportunity Commission ruled in 2000 that insurance companies providing prescription coverage could not exempt birth control.
The “subsidizing-your-sex-life” argument Limbaugh is making is related to, but nevertheless distinct from the religious objection to birth control. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has opposed even allowing insurance companies to foot the bill for contraception for employees of Catholic institutions. However, it has no objection in principle to prescription drug coverage that includes Viagra.
More, at: motherjones.com
See also: Jen Doll’s piece at the Atlantic Wire:
Rush Limbaugh Is Trolling Us
“…This was all precipitated when Fluke, who is a third-year law student, said that she had to pay up to $1,000 a year for birth control because Georgetown health plans did not cover it, and Limbaugh responded on his show, “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.”
Not content with that, Limbaugh added, “Can you imagine if you’re her parents how proud of Sandra Fluke you would be? Your daughter goes up to a congressional hearing conducted by the Botox-filled Nancy Pelosi and testifies she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them, or the Pope.”
But, the simple fact is this: If Rush Limbaugh slut-shames you, you’re doing something right, because he is pulling out what he imagines to be his most hurtful, vicious, full-barreled defense strategy against a woman. If you call a woman a “slut,” you see, she will cower in a corner and hide because that is akin to calling her ugly, or worthless. At least that’s what small-thinking men (and sometimes women) assume; women would rather die than be dubbed such a thing! Slut-shaming is a tool of cowards who want to make women feel bad because, truthfully, they’re afraid of what those women might do given a platform like, say, the floor of Congress.”