There is no other young female political figure more associated with the issue of birth control and the Affordable Care Act than Sandra Fluke, the former Georgetown University law student who testified on the issue before Congress, was called a slut by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, and then became a leading Democratic surrogate in the 2012 elections. Initially, Fluke was denied a chance to speak by the Republican controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which ended up holding a hearing in which all the speakers were men. The committee chair argued that Fluke wasn’t an expert on the issue.
But Democrats called Fluke to speak during a separate hearing, where she talked about Georgetown University’s policy of denying contraception coverage as part of its health care plans. Georgetown in July 2013 began to cover contraception, with insurance companies footing the bill.
Fluke turned that 15 minutes into something more, and is now a candidate in California for a state senate seat.
Today, over at Post-Everything, she weighed in on the court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which granted certain companies the right to refuse birth control coverage on religious grounds.
Here’s a excerpt from what she wrote:
There is a movement to prohibit government support not only for abortion services—which, with a few exceptions, has existed for three decades—but also for emergency contraception and certain forms of birth control. Even a woman’s ability to pay for her own coverage is under attack: Some states’ exchanges and the federal exchange are prohibited from providing insurance that covers abortion care.
In sum, the anti-choice movement wants to limit not just affordable access, but all access to abortion and birth control, whether it is backed by the government, by employers, or purchased by private citizens. It is an attack at all levels, and today’s decision is just another success in these efforts.
The task now is to determine how best to meet the reproductive healthcare needs of millions of women who could be affected by this decision. The Court says that the White House could expand the program for employees of religiously-affiliated non-profits to these employees as well. That won’t undo the long-term damage that the Court has begun today, but it will go a long way in ensuring healthcare access for millions of women. The Obama administration should act.
In her primary race earlier in June, Fluke finished second behind another Democrat, Ben Allen and will be on the ballot in November. She has maintained a relatively high profile in the race, including a large Twitter following and making guest appearances on cable television. Allen, her opponent, is a law school professor and there is little daylight on this issue between the two of them:
But Fluke obviously has a bigger platform and the backing of prominent women’s groups, which could give her an edge in that local race.