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Woman called 'slut' by Limbaugh is 'stunned, outraged'

Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET: President Barack Obama called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke on Friday, just before her appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” to offer support as she weathers a growing firestorm over comments from Rush Limbaugh.Fluke appeared on TODAY Friday morning to talk about the comments, in which Limbaugh called her a "slut" for speaking out as a birth control

Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET: President Barack Obama called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke on Friday, just before her appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” to offer support as she weathers a growing firestorm over comments from Rush Limbaugh.

Fluke appeared on TODAY Friday morning to talk about the comments, in which Limbaugh called her a "slut" for speaking out as a birth control activist.

Georgetown University president, John DeGiola, also weighed in with a letter addressed to the school community criticizing the behavior of Limbaugh and other conservative commentators who have made similar statements as “misogynistic” and “vitriolic”

On Twitter, the Sleep Train mattress store chain announced it would pull ads from Limbaugh’s show in response to his comments about Fluke and birth control.

However, Limbaugh doubled down on those comments during his show on Friday. He devoted much of the first half of the three-hour show to blasting Democrats and the “liberal” media for over-hyping the issue.

“They want to blame me as the person (women) should fear,” Limbaugh told listeners.

On Friday, House Speaker John Boehner called Limbaugh’s comments “inappropriate.”

On TODAY's Facebook page, readers had heated opinions about the issue.

Some agreed with Limbaugh’s criticism: “She knew the risks, she made the choice,” wrote Mike Foster.

“Being a law school student (sic) you’d think that she’d be smart enough to go to Planned Parenthood like every other ‘normal’ person,” Jennifer Brown Bellgraph explained.

While others strongly disagreed: “This guy need (sic) to get off the air,” wrote Melissa Duncan. “There was no need to slander this woman and humiliate her to this degree.”

Updated 9:48 a.m. ET: The ongoing debate over birth control took a particularly nasty turn recently when conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” for speaking out about the issue.

Fluke, a birth control activist, spoke with TODAY’s Matt Lauer about Limbaugh’s comments and the failure of a GOP-sponsored amendment that would have allowed employers at religious institutions to opt out of providing contraception in health plans.

Fluke told Lauer that she expected some backlash, especially from someone like Limbaugh. Still, the comments stung — especially since they were made on the first day of Women’s History Month.

“I think my reaction was the reaction a lot of women have had historically when they’ve been called these types of names: Initially to be stunned by it, and then to quickly feel outraged and very upset,” she told Lauer.

Limbaugh’s comments came on the heels of heated congressional debate over the so-called “Blunt Amendment,” a measure that ultimately failed in the Senate and would have nixed the Obama administration’s mandate on contraception. Lawmakers evoked Fluke’s name during the debate as someone who testified during an unofficial democratic committee hearing headed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., about how a friend needed birth control to shrink ovarian cysts and help preserve her fertility.

Fluke had been previously blocked from testifying before a Republican-led, all-male congressional panel on contraception and religious freedom.

Limbaugh said Fluke was just trying to promote casual sex.

"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke (sic) who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

Democratic congresswomen, including Pelosi, released a statement criticizing what they called the “vicious and inappropriate attacks” leveled at Fluke. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and more than 75 Democratic lawmakers have called on Republican colleagues to condemn Limbaugh’s attack.

"When Sandra Fluke testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy committee after Republicans attempted to silence her, she courageously spoke truth to power,” the congresswomen wrote in a statement. “She has been subject to attacks that are outside the circle of civilized discussion and that unmask the strong disrespect for women held by some in this country."

More: Why birth control is pushing political buttons

Limbaugh: Contraception advocate should post sex videos

Senate defeats limit on birth control coverage

Video: College student testifies at birth control hearing 

Boehner calls Limbaugh remarks 'inappropriate'

TODAY.com political contributor Halimah Abdullah is the site’s woman in Washington.