Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who testified before Congress this past week on the consequences faced by young women who can’t get contraception coverage in their student health plans at Catholic institutions, proved she is well named.
Fluke is indeed, as a definition of the word offers, “a stroke of good fortune.” With her eloquent testimony, she became just that overnight for millions of people concerned about the war against women and the war on sex that’s being waged by the right, including the mostly Republican members of Congress and the Republican presidential candidates, especially Rick Santorum.
It seems President Obama believes Fluke to be a stroke of good fortune as well, as he phoned her to compliment her on standing up for her principles and supporting his decision to require the coverage. He also told her that her “parents should be proud of her.”
Another part of the definition of “fluke,” ironically and quite nicely, applies to Rush Limbaugh, the popular radio commentator who took such exception to Fluke’s testimony that he called her a “whore” and a “prostitute.” Since a “fluke” can also be a “barbed head, as in an arrow,” I think this definition applies in spades to Limbaugh. Only someone with that sort of head could indulge in the crude and sexist names that he called her.
Fluke’s testimony is exceptionally thoughtful and dotted with specific examples of how female students’ health is affected when their contraception is not covered. For one, it endangers their desire to avoid unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
She called the members of Congress’ attention to the fact that without insurance coverage, “contraception can cost a woman $3,000 during law school. …For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary.”
She explained that “one student had said that she knew that birth control wasn’t covered and she assumed that’s how Georgetown’s insurance handled all of women’s sexual health care, so when she was raped, she didn’t go to the doctor even to be examined for sexually transmitted infections, because she thought that insurance wasn’t going to cover something like that.”