WASHINGTON -- Sandra Fluke said Tuesday that she'd been asked to run for office, and she didn't rule it out -- someday.
"Numerous American women have actually written to me in the last few weeks to say that I should run for office," Fluke noted during a panel discussion on women's history hosted by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). "And maybe someday I will. But for now, I actually have to finish law school."
Fluke, a Georgetown law student, became a public figure in the battle over contraception access after she testified in Congress and was called a "slut" and a "prostitute" by Rush Limbaugh.
Fluke said she was glad Limbaugh's attacks hadn't discouraged women from becoming part of the national conversation.
"Some conservative commentators thought that women would be silenced by sexist rhetoric and by these types of accusations," she said. "And I have to be honest that for a brief moment, I worried that that could potentially be successful, that young girls would see how I was treated in the media and conclude that they should just keep their mouths firmly shut and stay out of the way, lest that happen to them. But women of all ages proved me wrong."
Fluke called on other women to run for office, noting that women make up just 17 percent of Congress.
"What I want to say to women of my generation is that we need more Debbie Wasserman Schultzes, more Senator Gillibrands. We need more working mothers in office who understand the issues of family and family planning," she said, arguing that a female presence is crucial during debate over women's issues.
"We can't pretend that women's representation in elected office is unconnected from our policies on family planning," she said. "Because not only do women bring a particular perspective to the table when we discuss family planning, but our policies on family planning allow women to be at that table."
Fluke stressed that she was specifically appealing to potential female candidates who favor access to birth control.
"But I want to be clear, this doesn't mean that it's just any woman in the room," she said, citing the two women called by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to testify against the mandate to cover contraception at religious universities. "It has to be a woman who's focused on representing how policies will affect all of us. And this doesn't mean that it should be a political litmus test, that they need to be Democratic women or they need to be Republican women. But there should be a litmus test that they be pro-women...And it should be a litmus test that applies to male candidates as well."