CNN contributor Will Cain attempted to grill Sandra Fluke over her recent op-ed about contraception on Tuesday's "Starting Point."
Fluke, a Georgetown law student, became the center of national attention when radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut" and a "prostitute" after she testified at a hearing about the Obama administration's policy on contraception. She has spoken out about the controversy and her stance since then.
Fluke advocated insurance-covered contraception in an editorial on CNN.com on Tuesday. "Restricting access to such a basic health care service, which 99% of sexually experienced American women have used and 62% of American women are using right now, is out of touch with public sentiment," she wrote.
That morning, Cain questioned her use of the word "access" to discuss whether health care providers should cover contraception. "I hope you and I can agree on one term of this debate," he said. "That is, no one is attempting to ban contraception or limit access and make it illegal for women to have this. The debate is about who should be providing it, who should be paying for it."
Fluke disagreed, arguing that health insurance plans that do not cover contraception still pose a significant obstacle for women.
"Not covering it as a health care benefit the way other types of health care benefits are covered is another way to limit access and that’s what many women across the country are currently experiencing,” she maintained.
Cain continued to press her on the issue. He suggested that making contraception a health benefit could be a slippery slope for insurance companies.
"But Sandra, couldn't that same logic be applied to so many other things that health care doesn't cover, such as gym memberships?" he asked. "Exercise is important to health. Couldn't that logic you're using saying access is denied because it's not being offered to you for some reduced price apply to so many things?"
Fluke said that Cain's analogy was "not a fair comparison" to make. "There are many types of preventive health care services that are covered, things like blood pressure medication, for example," she said. "And women are merely asking that their health be taken just as seriously."
Debate over abortion and contraception