Limbaugh slut slur student Sandra Fluke gets Obama call

Sandra Fluke, a third-year law student at Georgetown University testifies during a hearing before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in Washington, DC 23 February 2012 Sandra Fluke said President Obama told her that her parents "should be proud"

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US President Barack Obama has called to offer support to a US law student attacked by radio host Rush Limbaugh for her views on contraception.

Mr Obama told Sandra Fluke he was disappointed she had been the subject of "unfortunate attacks", White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Limbaugh called Ms Fluke a "slut" and suggested her testimony to US lawmakers made her "a prostitute".

She was initially blocked from testifying by House Republicans.

But Ms Fluke eventually testified on 23 February in support of Mr Obama's ruling that religiously affiliated institutions such as universities and hospitals should provide insurance plans that cover all costs for medicinal contraceptives.

Limbaugh's comments came during his radio show earlier in the week.

"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan [sic] Fluke who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex," he said.

"It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

'A model of civil discourse'

Ms Fluke was invited to testify in front of a House committee convened by Democrats after she was blocked from the first panel.

A third year law student at Georgetown University, she previously served as president of the university's Students for Reproductive Justice group.

Start Quote

Clearly the president of the university and I disagree about the issues, but we're both able to handle this in a civil manner”

End Quote Sandra Fluke

Her testimony included the case of a fellow student who needed birth control to control ovarian cysts.

Georgetown, a Catholic university with a prestigious law school, does not cover birth control to prevent pregnancy in its student health plan, and the student, who is gay, could not convince the insurance company she was ill.

Ms Fluke also asserted that birth control prescriptions could cost as much as $3,000 (£1893) without insurance.

Georgetown University President John DeGioia defended Ms Fluke in a statement, calling her "a model of civil discourse" and branding Limbaugh's remarks "misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student".

In an interview with cable network MSNBC the Georgetown law student pointed to Mr DeGioia's remarks as a "model we should look to in our national discourse".

"Clearly the president of the university and I disagree about the issues, but we're both able to handle this in a civil manner," she said.

After criticism of his remarks, Limbaugh did not back down.

"If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch," he said on Thursday.

Rule change

Catholic leaders have been angered by the new rule, which required church-linked institutions to offer health insurance including birth control while exempting houses of worship directly.

Rush Limbaugh in a press conference for the 2010 Miss America Pageant 27 January, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rush Limbaugh is no stranger to controversy, once accusing Michael J Fox of exaggerating his illness

But the White House changed the scheme to allow health insurers to provide cover if employers objected.

"No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works," President Obama said, announcing the policy change at the White House in February.

The adjustment to the policy would mean Americans would not have to choose between "religious liberty and basic fairness", he said.

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