Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) took aim at Georgetown University Law graduate Sandra Fluke on Saturday, attacking her on the issue of birth control.
In a video captured by CREDO Super PAC at a campaign event in Addison, Ill., Walsh pointed to Fluke's Wednesday evening speech at the Democratic National Convention, calling her remarks "embarrassing."
“Think about this, a 31-32 year old law student who has been a student for life, who gets up there in front of a national audience and tells the American people, ‘I want America to pay for my contraceptives,'" Walsh told the crowd. "You’re kidding me. Go get a job. Go get a job Sandra Fluke.”
Fluke entered the national conversation in February, when Democrats invited her to attend a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing. The topic at hand was the Obama administration's contraception rule, requiring health insurers to offer birth control coverage. But committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) barred Fluke from speaking in favor of access to contraceptives, on the grounds that she was "not appropriate or qualified."
Conservative media host Rush Limbaugh added to the controversy, linking Fluke's thoughts on birth control to an endorsement for casual sex.
"It makes her a slut, right?," Limbaugh said. "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."
Fluke weaved that experience into her DNC speech, explaining that this presidential campaign presents "two profoundly different futures" for women, with one "look[ing] like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past."
In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won't stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. It would be an America in which you have a new vice president who co-sponsored a bill that would allow pregnant women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms. An America in which states humiliate women by forcing us to endure invasive ultrasounds we don't want and our doctors say we don't need. An America in which access to birth control is controlled by people who will never use it; in which politicians redefine rape so survivors are victimized all over again; in which someone decides which domestic violence victims deserve help, and which don't. We know what this America would look like. In a few short months, it's the America we could be. But it's not the America we should be. It's not who we are.
Walsh saw the address differently, telling voters on Saturday that Fluke's remarks were offensive in light of the economic struggles many Americans are facing.
"We’ve got parents in this country who are struggling to buy sneakers that their kids can wear to school that just started," Walsh said. "We’ve got parents up and down my district who are barely keeping their house. And, and, and, we have to be confronted by a woman, the Democratic Party this is what they stand for. They're going to put a woman in front of us who is complaining that the country — you, me and you — won’t pay the 9 dollars per month to pay for her contraceptives."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story listed Fluke as a Georgetown University Law student. She graduated from the school in 2012. This post has also been updated to reflect that Fluke was advocating for access to birth control under employers' insurance plans, not government-subsidized contraceptives.
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