Sandra Fluke Tells Catholic Georgetown Contraception Mandate Is About 'Reality, Not Ideology'

By Ron Meyer | April 16, 2012 | 7:22pm EDT

Activist Sandra Fluke spoke at Georgetown University today at an event closed to anyone who wasn't a student - but, Young America's Foundation (YAF) activist Laurel Zigerelli was there to witness Fluke's effort to convince students that religious institutions like Georgetown should be forced to provide health plans that provide free contraception.

Laurel Zigerelli, a student at Georgetown University, a Catholic institution, provides her account of, and reaction to, Fluke's presentation:

Sandra Fluke has a soft-spoken demeanor. She claims that she is the victim of media manipulation. Actually, Fluke may very well be one of the most successful propagandists of our time.

She has been unbelievably effective at shifting discussion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from being a conversation about an obvious infringement on constitutional rights (requiring religious institutions to provide birth control, despite their ideological opposition) to one of “women’s health” and “women’s rights.” Today, I had the opportunity to witness her subterfuge firsthand on my campus.

The majority of Fluke’s talk centered around her insistence that contraception is a critical component of women’s preventative healthcare services. She referenced the need for contraceptives to combat “ovarian cysts, hormonal imbalances, endometriosis…a lot of medical issues,” as she so eloquently stated. Fluke told stories of women that she knew who suffered lasting medical conditions, implying that these tragedies were a direct result of a lack of access to free contraception.

Fluke then had the audacity to insist that Georgetown’s student health insurance policy must change simply because “most students don’t realize that contraception coverage will not be on their insurance” when they arrive at Georgetown. Fluke said, “We’re used to having contraception readily available.”

So, does that mean that this Catholic institution and others ought to abandon their core beliefs? I sincerely hope not.

Thankfully, some courageous members of the campus community asked Fluke questions such as “Isn’t this [the Affordable Care Act] just subsidization of personal choices?” and made comments like “I’m having a hard time accepting the idea that the Church is denying reproductive freedom and women’s rights.” Fluke brushed off these legitimate concerns by reciting, “prevention of pregnancy is a public health need.” Further, she asserted, “when we’re talking about public policy, we need to look at reality, rather than [Church] ideology.”

This “reality” that Fluke holds is “the reality that many women are sexually active.” By that logic, this isn’t really a debate about women’s health, as she claims. It’s about taxpayers picking up the tab for women making this decision.

In a moment that seemed so perfect it must have been scripted, a freshman soft-tossed Fluke a question that she used to draw an infuriating parallel.

In reference to how she responded to personal attacks last month, she said, “I drew strength from history…this wasn’t about me as a person, it was about me as the symbol of something threatening – a woman speaking out publicly.” She continued, alluding to Frank Capra’s 1939 masterpiece Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

In describing her personal narrative, she claimed that she did not want her story to be, “Smith went to Washington; Smith testified before Congress; Smith was called a slut; and Smith shut up.”

I beg to differ. Unfortunately, Smith continues to disseminate her propaganda and call herself courageous while embarrassing women everywhere.

Ron Meyer is a program officer for Young America's Foundation and editor for its blog, The Quad.

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