The Fight for Contraception Rages On

The new federal requirement that private health insurance cover the cost of birth control has generated much heated controversy these last few weeks: Congressional hearings, proposed legislation to unwind it, multiple legal actions.

But the rash of recent misogynistic attacks—from Rush Limbaugh’s verbal assault on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke to the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s sweeping dismissal of women’s rights—has taken the public debate to shocking, demeaning extremes.

But as much as opponents of choice and reproductive rights would like you to believe otherwise, government action to expand access to affordable contraception is neither novel nor radical—and it is by no means an attack on religious freedom, as a number of governments around the world can attest.

Take Spain, for example. Few countries are as Catholic as is Spain. Nearly 75 percent of all Spaniards identify themselves as Catholic (in the U.S., just one in four citizens are Catholic). And yet Spain shows a far more advanced understanding and practical tolerance of contraception and how it fits into today’s society:

  • All women covered under the country’s National Health System pay reduced rates for contraception because the government subsidizes it.
  • All pharmacies are required to dispense emergency contraception—without a prescription and without restriction to age.

Spain is not alone in recognizing the ways contraception can improve women’s status and enhance the country’s overall well-being. The majority of countries in the European Union aim to make birth control affordable and information about birth control readily available. Germany, Romania, and United Kingdom provide particularly good examples. And representatives from several E.U. countries will meet this month in the European Parliament-along with leaders from the Center for Reproductive Rights—in an attempt to create greater consensus on contraception issues and discuss the multiple public health and human rights benefits that subsidization of contraceptives brings.

The primary message of the meeting will be that a woman’s ability to control her own fertility is essential to her health, her empowerment, and her equality in society, and it is a government’s responsibility to ensure access to the full range of family planning services so that women can make free and informed decisions.

Contraception empowers women. It prevents millions of unintended pregnancies and saves billions of taxpayer dollars every year. It should be a step forward that we can all rally around—not a lightning rod for controversy.

RESOURCES

It’s time for Rush to Get the Bum’s Rush

If you checked out “LeftAction” this morning, you should have seen a petition to give Rush a Bum’s Rush and the Advertisers that have been advertising on his program so folks can put pressure on those Advertisers to pull their advertising from this misogynistic and hateful talk show host.  It’s time to end his pollution of our nation’s air waves.

Send a message to Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers:  Tell them it’s time to stop supporting his anti-woman hate speech.

Even by Rush Limbaugh’s own standards, his attacks on Sandra Fluke were outrageous.

Last week, the House of Representatives held a hearing on access to contraception that included no women. Chairman Daryl Issa denied a Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, permission to speak on the absurd grounds that the hearing was about religious freedom, not birth control. After Democrats held their own hearing in which Fluke gave passionate, thoughtful testimony about a friend who lost an ovary because she couldn’t afford the birth control pills that would have reduced her ovarian cysts, Rush Limbaugh apparently felt the need to weigh in and decided to do so in the shameful, loathsome way that only Rush could. As I could never improve upon the words themselves for a distillation of the soul of Rush Limbaugh, here they are:

“What does that make her (Fluke)? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute,” he said. “She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception.”  (source: Krystal Ball, Huffington Post)

And he didn’t stop there: 

Not satisfied with simple slander and name-calling, Limbaugh then doubled down on his attacks on Fluke and actually demanded that she post sex tapes online: “So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.”  (source: Krystal Ball, Huffington Post)

Enough is enough.  It is time for Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors to stop supporting his hate speech through their advertising dollars.

Sign the petition today, and send them a message.  And make sure to spread the word.  “Share” this on Facebook, and use the hashtag “#BoycottRush” on Twitter.

Here is a list of the companies we believe to be Rush’s advertisers. (Note, things are happening very quickly, so we cannot guarantee right now that these are all current advertisers). We will update these as they react to the “Boycott Rush” movement, or confirm they are no longer supporting him.

  • AutoZone (UPDATE: They say that they do not sponsor Rush, and that if a commercial was run, it was in error)
  • Carbonite (UPDATE: The CEO says this is the “worst” outrcy they’ve ever had over a controversial show, and he has scheduled an in-person meeting with Limbaugh to impress upon him how offensive the comments were. At this point, however, they have not removed their ads)
  • Century21
  • Citrix (UPDATE: Citrix has pulled their ads!)
  • Dominos (Update: Dominos says it is NOT an advertiser with Rush)
  • eHarmony (UPDATE: eHarmony says it is NOT an advertiser with Rush)
  • LegalZoom  (UPDATE: LegalZoom has confirmed with us directly that it is pulling its ads!)
  • LendingTree
  • LifeLock
  • Oreck (UPDATE: Oreck says it does not now advertise on Rush, but may have had some ads on a while back as part of a broad media buy)
  • ProFlowers
  • Sears
  • Sleep Train: (UPDATE: Victory! They have pulled their ads! — source)
  • Sleep Number(UPDATE: Victory! They have pulled their ads! — source)
  • Quicken Loans (UPDATE: Appears to be a victory here too, as they are reportedly pulling ads as well!)
  • TaxResolution

(Again, the caveat — this is the list of advertisers we have compiled from multiple sources, and while we strive to be accurate, we cannot guarantee that every one of them is correct.  We will update asap if we discover errors or changes)

UPDATES: