Social Engineering; Manipulating Public Opinion
The Fluke Testimony, Part 2
By John D. Turner
14 Mar 2012

Lawyers are noted for their facility with words; it is a necessary occupational skill. Ms. Fluke, in her testimony, is painting a picture. The picture described is not for the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Her audience is a wider audience. She is aiming her message for you, and as such she doesn’t expect you to understand all the underlying terminology; she is expecting you to fill in the mental blanks with your own “understanding” of what she is saying, knowing that you do not understand. In fact, she is counting on that. It is information warfare, aimed at the target audience of the American public.

“Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students like me, who are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary. 40% of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they struggle financially as a result of this policy.”

Ms. Fluke is telling you that contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. I’m sure it can. Depends on what sort of contraception you use and how frequently you need it. She then goes on to say that for a lot of student’s that is practically an entire summer’s salary. The implication here is that I have to slave all summer just to earn enough to pay for my contraception.

But the cost cited is for the entire three years. That would break down to $1000/year. Assuming that one already had enough to cover the first year before starting school, she would only have to earn $1000 each summer to cover the next year’s contraceptive devices of choice. Surely, a Georgetown Law student, who already has a bachelor’s degree of some type under her belt, can find a job that pays significantly more than $1000 during the summer. Then again, I am not sure exactly what sort of salary a bachelor’s in Feminist, Gender & Sexuality studies from Cornell, as Ms. Fluke has, drags down in summer hire programs these days. [1]

This also begs the question, what was she doing about contraception before she started law school? Or is there something about law school that just makes one naturally horny?

I am sure that there are many things that such a student might want to spend their summer earnings on; pizza and beer; new clothes; perhaps a hot new bikini to help ensure that the cost of those contraceptives isn’t wasted. It all comes down to priorities. If having a good time and not having to live with the consequences is so important, then perhaps the cost of a good contraceptive should be figured into the equation.

Or even a not-so-good contraceptive. Condoms are cheap, and can frequently be had for free. And condoms protect you against “social diseases” as well, which birth control pills, IUDs, and implants can’t.

Students struggle financially at schools all over the country for all sorts of reasons. It’s part of being a student. Where is it written that students, not to mention anyone else, should never have to struggle financially? And how would you possibly achieve that outcome?

Life is struggle. No matter how much you make it’s never enough. There are always things you can’t afford, shiny toys you want but can’t have. The more you make the more expensive the things you buy. It has been said that all of us, rich and poor, are “broke”; we are just broke at different levels. You might be surprised to know that someone making 2-3 times what you are making has no more “disposable income” than you do. I was surprised to find that many on public assistance have more disposable income than I have. At least so a recent study said.

So once Ms. Fluke graduates with that Georgetown law degree and is making six figures, what will be the next thing she thinks I or someone else should pick up the tab for?

Continuing her narrative, she then focuses on a friend of hers who she says has struggled with her insurance company in an attempt to get them to pay for birth control pills to combat polycystic ovarian syndrome. According to her, Georgetown’s insurance should cover this medical condition, but won’t because they insist that she really wants the pills for contraceptive reasons not medical reasons. Ms. Fluke claims that “Despite verifications of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy. She’s gay. So clearly polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy for her.

Perhaps, if true; and if it is, certainly she should get the treatment she needs to combat her illness. To me, the opinion of the doctor involved should be sufficient. Certainly there would be lab work to back up the diagnosis. I suspect there is more to this story than meets the eye. I have a hard time believing that if she really has polycystic ovarian syndrome that a doctor would withhold treatment simply because she might have sex while she was at it. Will we ever find out? Probably not. It’s a heart-rending story to be sure; but I sincerely doubt that, as a percentage of the total female population, there are that many women attending Georgetown University with this particular problem.

As she stated, the University’s policy does cover contraceptives for these sorts of medical issues. That being the case, it seems to me that the solution is to fix whatever is wrong with the insurance company providing the covered services, not simply making contraceptives available to whomever wants them on demand. Clearly though, this is the end case result she is trying to achieve.

Then there are the statistics she quotes; lots of statistics. One must always be suspicious when one starts using statistics. They should always be sourced and checked to ensure their validity. As I have heard it said before, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. You can prove anything with statistics. Why I once heard that 93% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Including the one I just cited.

So this is who Sandra Fluke is, and what she is trying to achieve. In her attempt to rally public opinion to her cause, she absolutely hit it out of the park. She landed a big fish, Rush Limbaugh, to whom this apparently was the last straw. He caused all sorts of controversy by labeling her a slut and a prostitute on live radio – a statement for which he later apologized. But the damage was done. An obscure piece of testimony that probably would have gone nowhere was catapulted into the national limelight earning her sympathy from many, and a personal phone call from the President of the United States, thanking her for speaking out on the issue, and stating that “her parents ought to be proud of her.”

Folks on the left can get away with that sort of rhetoric. Ed Schultz, for example, can call Laura Ingraham a slut, and Bill Maher can call Sarah Palin something even more obscene than that and get away with it. But conservatives? Forget about it! In any event, we should be above such anyway.

Next, what is insurance anyway, and should it pay for contraceptives?

[1] To be completely fair, Ms Fluke received a double major from Cornell. She also has a B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management, which should help out much more when looking for that summer job.

Georgetown Law: A little history”, Georgetown University website.