TODAY   |  March 02, 2012

Activist called ‘slut’ by Limbaugh speaks out

Sandra Fluke, the birth control activist called a “slut” and “prostitute” by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, talks to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about Limbaugh’s comments and the failure of a GOP-sponsored amendment that would have allowed employers to opt out of providing contraception in health plans.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> now exclusively. good morning. thanks for joining us.

>> good morning. i used to be one of those people outside the studio screaming with my mom. it's interesting to be on this side of the camera.

>> nice to have you here. you didn't start this debate but you spoke publically about this issue. before i get to the specifics of what happened in the last day or so do you feel you have gotten more than you bargained for?

>> well, yeah. it's certainly been a good bit, yes.

>> the comments made by rush limbaugh about you, certainly derogatory. what was your first reaction when you heard the comments?

>> i think my reaction was the reaction a lot of women have had when they have been called these names. really i think a lot of women across america have had this. it was initially to be stunned by it, but then to quickly feel outraged and upset that, again, on the first day of women's history month, on that day a woman is being called these names in an attempt to silence me, to silence all of us from speaking about the health care we need.

>> he made the first comments about you a couple days ago. when given the opportunity to backtrack or apologize for them yesterday, instead he doubled down. having said this, this is rush limbaugh and this is what he does for a livinging. he makes comments, in my opinion, he hopes will get more people to talk about him, to listen to his radio show or buy his books. this is his business model . but having said that, are you surprised at what seems to be a deafening silence coming from the right in standing up for you?

>> well, i do want to make sure everyone understands that this wasn't just one man who said these things. there were many conservative commentators on several major broadcast networks who did make these types of comments. i would encourage people to look into that. i think it's an important thing to think about that in our society in certain sectors this is evidently still acceptable. that's really problematic.

>> this issue has been described in different ways. as an issue of religious freedom , women's health, government intervention. how do you define it?

>> is i think this is about women's health. that's what it's always been about for me. that's what it's about for the many, many americans e-mailing me constantly, telling me how important it is to them. for them and for me this is about accessible affordable access to a service that prevents unplanned pregnancies.

>> where do you see the issue going?

>> it's fantastic that the blunt amendment was defeated. unfortunately there are still bills being discussed in the house and the senate as well as in the legislatures of many, many states to restrict women's access to this important health care need. so unfortunately it doesn't seem like this is an argument that is over.

>> sandra, thank you for your time. it was nice to have you on the show.

>> thank you for having me.