Posts Tagged “Sandra Fluke”
Former Georgetown Law student and women's rights activist Sandra Fluke (LAW '12) has been nominated to be Time's 2012 person of the year for handling her controversial time in the national media spotlight “with poise and maturity.”
40 people received nominations including Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Mohamed Morsi, and Bashar Assad. Although the editors at Time make the final decision of who is selected, the site allows readers to vote for or against each nominee. Kim Jong Un ranks first with 3.5 million yes votes. Fluke ranks near the bottom of the pack with 38,000 yes votes to 77,000 no votes.
Late last February, Fluke received national attention after her speech to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee came under harsh criticism from the right. Most notable were radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s comments, labeling Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute.”
Fluke argued that religious institutions like Georgetown should not be exempt from providing health care assistance for contraceptives on religious grounds. She cited the high cost of contraceptives and law students’ financial difficulties in meeting this cost.
After Limbaugh’s infamous tirade, members of the left and right alike came out in support of Fluke and called for a more civil discussion over the crucial issue of contraception access. Even President Jack DeGioia publicly defended her, earning him recognition as one of The Atlantic's 2012 Brave Thinkers.
Fluke then took an even more active role in women’s rights advocacy, leading Georgetown Law students to petition the University to change its health care policies regarding contraceptives and delivering a key speech at the Democratic National Convention. Democrats used Fluke’s story to emphasize women's issues in the 2012 election, which contributed to Barack Obama’s significant lead over Mitt Romney in the women’s vote.
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Last Wednesday, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke spoke at the Democratic National Convention about Todd Akin, women’s rights, and contraception. In February, Fluke was denied testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the requirement that employers provide contraceptives in insurance payments without a copay.
Fluke became nationally known for her work with Georgetown’s chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, especially after negative comments from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Many Georgetown students came out in support for her cause and President DeGioia sent out a letter condemning Limbaugh’s slur.
In an interview before her speech with CNS Maryland, Fluke said that she wanted to provide women with important information about the records of the two candidates.
“What I hope to do with my time is to provide people with information about the record of Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan and of President Obama and Vice President Biden when it comes to issues that are important to women.”
During her speech on Wednesday, she came out in strong support for Obama and the Democratic party.
According to Fluke, the reelection of Obama would create “an America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters — not his delegates or donors — and stands with all women,” she said. “And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here, and give me a microphone, to amplify our voice.”
She ended her speech by saying that American women had the chance to either choose a president who “either has our back or turns his back”. Video link to her full speech here.
Photo by AP/J. Scott Applewhite
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In a statement released last Thursday, Georgetown’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice condemned President John DeGioia for his recent email confirming the unchanging health insurance policy on contraception. Members of LSRJ expressed deep disapproval of the decision, claiming that the university administration had an obligation to meet in person with the students before sending out the email.
“We sincerely hoped that the university would extend us the courtesy of responding to our pleas face-to-face, rather than issuing a blanket, campus-wide email on an issue that affects so many students. Instead, they simply chose not to engage in dialogue with us,” Kelly Percival, law student and co-president of LSRJ, said.
Sandra Fluke, law student and co-president of LSRJ, condemned the decision in the statement as well, mentioning how the health plan led to the loss of her friend’s ovary. DeGioia’s email was a response to a recent petition signed by 700 students and sent to the University demanding contraceptive coverage before the mandated 2013 date.
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In response to the recent petitions on contraceptive coverage on campus, President John J. DeGioia sent an email to the Georgetown community this morning. He stated that after careful consideration, the university opted to retain their current health insurance model, noting that there would be no changes in contraceptive coverage in 2013 as well. DeGioia cited the plan’s adherence to the school’s Catholic and Jesuit identity, in addition to their voluntary nature.
The most notable petition was signed last Thursday by over 700 students, including law student Sandra Fluke and Georgetown’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice. This action followed a similar petition from the Law Center’s faculty, in which 66 members of the law faculty expressed similar disdain over the university’s current healthcare plan.
The full text of the email is below:
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Over 700 students signed a petition to the University last Thursday calling for contraceptive coverage in the student health plans for the coming academic year. The letter was jointly signed by law student Sandra Fluke and Georgetown’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice. This action followed a similar petition from the Law Center’s faculty, in which 66 members of the law faculty urged President John J. DeGioia to reconsider the current health plan.
According to to the letter, undergraduate student movements for contraception are forming, but a response from undergraduates has yet to be seen. H*yas for Choice could not be reached for comment on their potential plans to collaborate with Fluke or LSRJ on further petitions or actions to demand contraception for students.
Kelly Percival, Georgetown law student and member of LSRJ, told Vox in an email: “We are working with H*yas for Choice, Georgetown Med Students for Choice, as well as a group of students from Georgetown’s business school to collect signatures on similar petitions. We hope that the university chooses to listen to our student voices by not unnecessarily delaying contraception coverage until 2013.”
The University consistently remained resolute on the issue since Fluke’s testimony to Congress earlier this year. In a letter released to the Washington Post last Friday, DeGioia wrote to a law professor that “We do not intend to change Georgetown’s longstanding practice of excluding contraceptive coverage for the purposes of birth control from its student health insurance offerings unless explicitly required to do so by law.”
Georgetown law professor M. Gregg Bloche, who wrote an Op-Ed in the Huffington Post on the faculty petition and the University’s response, wrote in an email to Vox:
The law now requires that Georgetown’s health plan for students cover contraception – by next year at the latest. I’m confident that the University will honor President DeGioia’s commitment (and our legal obligation). Though the University might, in theory, be able to put this off until 2013, I very much hope that we act this year.
On August 1, all health care insurance providers will be required to cover contraception in their plans. Since religious colleges and universities may apply for a one-year extension, law students hope that the petition will force the University to change the health plan earlier. However, rumblings from law students and faculty fail to convince the University, as of yet, to act upon the laws any earlier than mandated.
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At yesterday’s meeting, the Georgetown University Student Association senate passed six bills, some of which were more important than others and some of which took longer to talk about.
Big Budget, Big Budget
First the outgoing chair of the Finance and Appropriations committee, Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), talked about the finalized budget for next year. This round of allocations reflects the last major increase from SAFE reform, so the distribution of money will probably be a template for future years, according to Malkerson.
For the six advisory boards, Finapp allocated 24 percent of the $960,000 pie to Club Sports, 19 to CSJ ABSO, 16 to SAC, 10 to GPB, six to Media Board, and five to PAAC. They only allocated two percent to GUSA.
Deviating from previous years, Finapp allocated money directly to the Lecture Fund instead of indirectly through SAC. Lecture Fund still has Access to Benefits through SAC, but creating a separate allocation frees up SAC’s funds for other organizations.
Although the increase in funding for most boards was commensurate with the overall funding increase, Club Sports’s allocation decreased by $20,000 compared to last year. According to Finapp member Bridget Power (COL ’12), Club Sports received a mammoth increase at last year’s budget summit, going from $115,000 in 2011 to $250,000 in 2012. This year, Finapp scaled down that increase to make room for other projects.
In other Finapp news, the Senate also allocated another $3500 to the GUSA fund to allow them to finish out the year. According to Malkerson, the current system of funding for the GUSA fund, in which the GUSA fund has to request money from GUSA whenever it needs it, makes it difficult for them to effectively budget.
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