News & Politics

Never Forget What Rush Limbaugh Said About Sandra Fluke

The radio host's awful legacy includes disgusting sexist attacks on a DC law student.

Limbaugh in 2019. Photograph by Flickr user Gage Skidmore.

Rush Limbaugh has died, and no list of his awful legacy of racism, sexism, and attacks on the poor would be complete without noting he made war on a DC student in 2012. Sandra Fluke was a third-year student at Georgetown Law when Democrats invited her to testify at an unofficial congressional hearing after Republicans, then in the majority, convened an all-male panel to discuss women’s health.

Fluke made a case that religious institutions like Georgetown should provide contraception to students. Limbaugh, an accomplished bully with a huge national audience, recognized Fluke as an ideal target. Getting her first name wrong (he called her “Susan”), Limbaugh said Fluke’s position “essentially says that she must be paid to have sex.” Not content with that calumny, he continued:

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.

For the next few days, he and his audience reveled in his delightful bons mots, and Limbaugh continued to assail Fluke women at Georgetown, at one point saying “I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want.” He suggested that one way women could repay him for allowing them to use birth control would be to post videos of them having sex “online so we can all watch.”

This happened nine years ago.

Georgetown defended Fluke, calling the comments of Limbaugh and other unnamed individuals “misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.” Limbaugh issued a weak apology after advertisers fled his show: “In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke,” he wrote.

Fluke is currently an attorney in Los Angeles and the president of Voices for Progress. Limbaugh received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump last February. He spent his last year on earth lying about the coronavirus and Trump’s election loss and just happening to mention that Senator Dianne Feinstein is Jewish.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.