The Femo: The Fluke in Walsh’s logic
Recently, a video of Mitt Romney calling 47 percent of the American population government “dependents” has received widespread attention. But Romney is not the only Republican who recently decided that those who rely on government funding deserve reproach.
After Sandra Fluke’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) made public statements attacking Fluke, calling her an entitled “student for life,” and telling her to “go get a job.” Walsh continued to explain that Fluke’s call for affordable access to birth control was offensive to the Americans who are currently facing what he considers real economic problems.
Walsh’s remarks simultaneously disparage the importance of women’s health issues, oversimplify the solution to their economic woes, and deny the existence of any real connection between them. As such, Walsh casts Sandra Fluke, and other women that comprise Romney’s 47 percent, as self-made victims whose inability to access affordable health care is the result of lack of motivation to find employment.
How much longer do we have to wait until the Republican Party addresses women’s access to affordable health care as a “real” economic problem? For the 18 million women in poverty, savings of $9 per month for up to 20 years of responsible family planning (made possible under the Affordable Care Act) can help make the important difference.
As female students, many of whom will spend as many years in school as Fluke, we will inevitably face criticism from those, like Walsh, who believe a women’s right to control her own body depends on whether or not she has a job. We may be portrayed as part of a careless youth, unfamiliar with the value of hard work, and looking to suck the money out of government, one pill pack at a time.
But in facing these criticisms, we should know that we are in fact entitled to a government that both respects and recognizes the correlation between women’s health issues and the economy. And furthermore, we should remember that our job as citizens is to hold our government accountable for providing for our health and safety.
As far as I’m concerned, Sandra Fluke already has a job. And she’s been doing it well.
photo of Joe Walsh by Gage Skidmore: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5452299087/