Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sandra Fluke is Every Woman

This is the Wikipedia entry regarding the controversy between bigoted dickwad Rush Limbaugh and Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, after Ms. Fluke testified to a House committee about President Obama's mandated health coverage of contraceptives:

"On February 29, 2012 Limbaugh commented on law student Sandra Fluke, who had testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in support of mandated health coverage for contraceptives. On his radio show, Limbaugh described Fluke as a "slut", "prostitute" and "round-heeled", while questioning whether her parents were proud of her for supporting the government's ruling that religiously affiliated institutions should provide health insurance plans that include contraception. Already facing criticism, he repeated his claims the following day and further suggested that Fluke, "and the rest of you feminazis," make a sex tape in exchange for contraceptive funding, along with offering to buy the women of Georgetown University "as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want."

Rush Limbaugh has crossed a line, and from my (albeit unexperienced) legal perspective, Sandra Fluke needs to sue.

In Washington, D.C., in order to prove a case of "slander" in civil court, a plaintiff need only show four elements:

  1. the defendant (Rush Limbaugh) made a false and defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff (Sandra Fluke) --> DUH.
  2. the defendant published the statement without privilege to a third party --> Pretty sure Fluke wasn't okay with Limbaugh calling her a "slut," among other things, via a national radio show.
  3. the defendant's fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence --> can you be negligent for being a misogynist bigot?
  4. either the statement was actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm or itspublication caused the plaintiff special harm --> yeah, I think Fluke was pretty harmed by Limbaugh's idiotic remarks.
Seriously, it's that easy. Fluke would have little to prove, since all of these statements have been publicized and spread around so much among conservatives and liberals alike. All her attorneys would need to do is flip on CNN, and their case would be proven.

As a female law student, I took personal offense to Limbaugh's statements. There is no doubt in my mind that Fluke already knows about the defamation law. But as a woman, I can understand her hesitation to take further action. She likely doesn't want to relive those painful statements Limbaugh made about her, even though the misogynist bigot had never met her. Fluke probably, understandably, wants to put this whole incident behind her.

But this is her moment to strike, to get justice for herself, and for all the millions of women who use contraceptives to improve their qualities of life. Limbaugh is like a child - he keeps pushing buttons and crossing lines because no one will tell him "no" or punish him for his blatant wrongdoings. But Fluke has a real chance here to slap a defamation suit on him - and to make a positive mark on history by putting one of the biggest bullies of our time in his place.

Sandra Fluke could have been any woman. In Rush Limbaugh's mind, we women are all the same - "sluts," "prostitutes," and "whores."

A petition has been started on Change.org, supporting Fluke and calling for the House Republicans to denounce Limbaugh's senseless, hurtful remarks: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-republican-leaders-denounce-rush-limbaugh-s-anti-women-tirade

Regardless of their affiliated party, political leaders need to publicly condemn these statements and take a stance on bullying, bigotry, and misogyny.

- Chelsea

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