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Friday, March 02, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Has No Idea How Birth Control Works

by David Atkins

The Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke story is starting to become surreal. It's flabbergasting to watch the rightwing media machine self-immolate not only over social issues when any rational observer knows that economic issues are the safest path back to power, but over contraception of all things. Yes, of course the Talibangelicals have an interest in pushing the Overton Window on this issue over the long-term. But more establishmentarian conservatives must understand that appearing to oppose contraception itself is devastatingly bad for their electoral chances, at least in the short term. And yet they appear to be going for broke on it.

It especially doesn't help when their key spokespeople don't appear to understand how contraceptives even work. Case in point: Rush Limbaugh, who continued his anti-contraception meltdown even today:

Limbaugh continued to focus on Fluke today, saying she "hilariously" testified to Congress that "she's having so much sex" that health insurance should cover her birth control.

"Not one person says, 'Well, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex you have?'" Limbaugh said.

Anyone remotely familiar with oral contraceptives knows that to work properly, women have to take one pill a day over the course of their monthly cycle. It doesn't matter if you have unprotected sex once a month or three hundred times a month. It's still the same number of pills, and therefore the same cost. How much sex someone has is utterly irrelevant to the cost of contraception unless they choose to abstain for the entire month. (And none of this covers the issue of having sex with one person or more than one person, either. When Rush not just misogynistically but simply bizarrely calls Ms. Fluke a "slut," it would seem to be based on an unfounded assumption about having sex with multiple partners rather than a single boyfriend--though neither situation makes a whit of difference to the cost of oral contraceptives.)

Even abstinent women who are not seeking to have children should be on the pill, anyway, absent other more permanent forms of birth control, if for no other reason than in case of a felicitous meeting at best, or involuntarily sexual coercion at worst.

Of course, the reason Rush doesn't seem to understand female contraceptives is probably because he thinks they work like Viagra. Rush assumes that since it costs him money every time he has sex, it must cost a female college student money, too.

Rush isn't just a misogynist and horrible all-around human being. He's also a self-centered moron who doesn't even have the intellectual curiosity to find out how oral contraceptives work. But he's not the only one. Remember this gem from Bill O'Reilly:

Commenting on the Institute of Medicine's recommendation that contraception should be considered a preventative service and co-pays for contraception should be eliminated, Bill O'Reilly claimed: "Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex. They're not going to use birth control anyway."

Apparently, O'Reilly thinks birth control pills only work if taken immediately after sex.

Remember, Limbaugh and O'Reilly are the cream of the conservative crop, influencing tens of millions of conservative male voters on these issues. Not only are they hateful toward women and fearful of sex, they're clueless ignoramuses to boot.