Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student Rush Limbaugh labeled as a slut and a prostitute for her beliefs about access to birth control, responded on MSNBC's The Ed Show Thursday night.
"Initially, you're stunned, but then very quickly, you're outraged, because this is historically the kind of language that is used to silence women, especially when women stand up and say that these are their reproductive health care needs and this is what they need," Fluke said to Ed Schultz.
Fluke entered the spotlight earlier this month when she attempted to speak before the House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on religious liberty and the birth control rule, and Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) refused to let her, saying she was unqualified to speak on the issue.
Fluke was invited to speak for the Democrats and was going to be the only woman on the panel. Three Democrats, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), walked out of the hearing as a result.
Limbaugh made the argument on his radio show Wednesday that Fluke's desire for birth control was a promotion of casual sex.
"What does it say about the college co-ed 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," Limbaugh said. "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."
Rep. Maloney told the Huffington Post after Limbaugh's comments became public that she was aghast.
"If the far right can attack people like Sandra Fluke, women are going to be afraid to speak because they're going to be called terrible words. It's an attempt to silence people that are speaking out for women," Maloney said.
75 House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urging him to condemn the language. Friday Boehner responded in an email saying the remarks were inappropriate, but he stopped short of condemning them.
“The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an e-mail Friday morning.
Since launching its 'War on Women' campaign last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised $1.1 million.
Fluke said on The Ed Show that she wanted to thank all the Congressional members and women across America who have reached out and supported her.
"It really has meant a lot to me. And I think to women across America. But in answer to your question, I don't really see why anyone would not condemn this type of language," Fluke said.
She also said she would return to Capitol Hill again to testify if asked.
"Well, I think what I'm going to be doing from here on out is just continuing to do what I have been, sharing the stories of the women who contact me and really trying to make sure that their voices are being heard."
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