I know that there was a lot of fuss over the failure of the Republicans to have any female witnesses on the issue of contraception for women. But I would have had no problem with the panel, if only they had been asked the right questions. The leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, who also wants to elect the leader of the free world, has crystallized the party's position: Putting aside (or rather ignoring) the other benefits of contraception, a woman who uses a contraceptive to prevent having a baby is a "slut." If the contraceptive is paid for by someone else, the woman is a "prostitute," and all such sex acts should be videotaped and broadcast on the Internet. And Rick Santorum chimes in, if a woman wants to avoid being either a slut or a prostitute, and follows the admonition not to use contraception, and thus has an unwanted or unsafe pregnancy and an abortion, that woman is a "murderer." What an upbeat bunch of guys! The next Blunt Amendment will be to rescind a women's right to vote or bare her ankles in public.
What should have been asked of the male witnesses were questions such as: If a woman who has sexual relations before marriage uses a contraceptive to avoid having a baby is a "slut," what do you call the man who has relations with her? Have you ever had sexual relations with anyone before marriage for purposes other than having a baby? If so, did you or your partner take precautions not to have a baby? Have you ever had sexual relations during marriage for purposes other than having a baby? If so, what did you do to accomplish that purpose? Have you ever had extra-marital relations (like Newt) for purposes other than having a baby? Do you use Viagra? If so, has it been paid for in whole or in part by anyone else, such as your employer or insurance carrier? If so, does that make you a prostitute? Have you ever used a condom? If so, for what purpose?
Finally, have you ever had sex just for the joy of having sex without any intention of having a baby, and if so, should there be a law against it?
Contraception does so much more than merely prevent pregnancies, but even if that were its sole purpose, nothing can justify the remarks of Rush Limbaugh. Even for him -- this was a new low. Despite his half-hearted apology (not a retraction), if I were still a practicing lawyer I would volunteer to represent Sandra Fluke in a defamation suit against him. I hope someone else comes along to do it. Even free speech has its limits and so should Rush Limbaugh. Rush insultingly suggests that women can avoid pregnancy simply by "holding an aspirin between their knees." If only he would follow that advice by holding an aspirin between his teeth.
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