Viewpoint: Limbaugh's latest folly

Rush Limbaugh calls Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke (and the rest of the “femi-Nazis”) a slut and a prostitute for standing unofficially before Congress to criticize health insurance policies for its lack of contraception coverage. The nation bites Limbaugh back. Fluke fights back as well, and Limbaugh’s sponsorship begins to drop like flies. Limbaugh apologizes, because, well, money is involved now.

As it stands, Limbaugh’s show has lost 45 sponsors, including big names like AOL and GEICO Insurance.

It’s anyone’s guess if Limbaugh is sincere in his apology, and many believe that he isn’t. Whether he is or isn’t, there is a bigger issue at hand, and that is there are people who think a woman trying to fight for contraception is a “slut” who wants the government to pay her to have sex.

Because this issue became part of the national discourse this past week, the media has asked many what they feel about Limbaugh’s sentiments toward Fluke. Rick Santorum weighed in by stating that Limbaugh was being an absurd entertainer, but that it’s immoral to impose a value on people by using their money to pay for something like contraceptives. Romney was quoted as saying that “it’s not the language I would have used.”

So, essentially, neither thinks that Limbaugh is necessarily wrong; he’s just being a bit over-the-top.

Take a minute to think about this. Think about all of the money and time and nurturing a child needs. Think of all of the stories you hear about single women raising children, becoming “burdens” on society because they utilize government programs like WIC or food stamps to help them pay for food for their children. Think about the women who step up to the plate and do whatever is necessary to take care of the children that perhaps they weren’t ready for.

Also, try to take into consideration that birth control provides a multitude of other benefits for women’s health, not just preventing unwanted pregnancy.

We as a society naturally place the responsibility on women to raise children almost always. Biologically speaking, men can potentially leave because they have no physical obligation to a growing fetus. This isn’t to say that all young, unmarried women are abandoned by the men they conceive a child with, but it’s still a reality for some.

Calling women like Sandra Fluke “sluts” and “femi-Nazis” is unfair, sexist and ignorant. It is 2012 and people have sex. It isn’t a reality that all people wait until they’re married. It isn’t a reality that people don’t conceive children they aren’t ready for. The government can’t regulate sex, and no matter how much we chastise an unmarried person for having sex with someone, it won’t make it go away.

Taking birth control is responsible, and pretending like it’s not is an archaic way to think. No citizen is “paying for someone to have sex.” As a health insurance policy, that money is providing an option for everyone, male or female. This isn’t a religious or moral issue — it’s a health issue.

The world takes the time to react to and acknowledge what these men have to say about women’s reproductive health without taking into consideration the immense amount of responsibility these women are taking by protecting themselves from potential setbacks and health problems.

Our society values the opportunities to be whoever or whatever you want to be, so why is it a crime for a young woman or man to make a conscious choice to delay parenthood a few more years?