Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke on Friday choked up as she recalled an encouraging phone call from President Barack Obama after conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh smeared her as a “slut.”
“You were in our green room getting ready to come on and the White House tells us that we can reveal that you just got off the phone with President Obama,” MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell explained.
“Yes, I did,” Fluke agreed. “He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women.”
“And what was really personal for me was he said to tell my parents that they should be proud. And that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether my family would be proud of me,” she added, fighting back tears.
Limbaugh on Wednesday labeled the law student a “prostitute” and a “slut” because of her testimony in Congress about contraception.
Fluke had explained that her friend, a lesbian, could not afford the oral contraception she needed to prevent ovarian cysts from forming because her university refused to pay for them on religious grounds.
Limbaugh accused Fluke of not being able to afford contraception because she was “having so much sex.” Then on Thursday, he demanded that women post sex tapes online if they use insurance-covered birth control.
“I guess my reaction is the reaction a lot of women have when they’ve been called these names,” Fluke said during an appearance on MSNBC Thursday night. “Initially you’re stunned but then, very quickly, you’re outraged because this is historically the kind of language that is used to silence women, especially when women who stand up and say that these are their reproductive health care needs and this is what they need.”
Watch this video from MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, broadcast March. 2, 2012.
– With earlier reporting by Eric W. Dolan