Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed a very disturbing trend among law school students recently?
I mean, it seems like every time some young advocate gets some face time in front of a camera, he/she is telling the most outrageous stories, and the press just eats it up.
The latest case in point is Ms. Sandra Fluke (rhymes with “luck”), a 3rd-year Law Student at Georgetown University. Ms. Fluke recently testified in front of Nancy Pelosi’s one-woman dog and pony show about why Congress should mandate that all insurance companies provide birth control free of charge.
Setting aside the sheer audacity of such a naked grab for the American taxpayer’s wallet, let’s take a look at the context of Ms. Fluke’s testimony:
I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in student health plans. Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result…
Now, it would be one thing if Ms. Fluke had discovered this AFTER she started attending this school, but the fact is that she specifically CHOSE to attend Georgetown Law precisely BECAUSE of their policy. It seems that Ms. Fluke imagines herself as a modern-day Joan of Arc, and she picked her law school for the dragons that she could slay. She didn’t attend Georgetown Law for the education they could give her – nope, she was a gal on a mission.
On a daily basis, I hear from yet another woman who has suffered financial, emotional, and medical burdens because of this lack of contraceptive coverage.
Just how many women attend Georgetown Law that you are able to hear a different story every single day? I mean, the typical collegiate school year is, what – 150 days? If you are in your third year of Law School, that would mean that 450 different women have approached you personally and related their contraceptive tale of woe, right?
I’m amazed that you are able to find time to study.
Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary.
First of all, I’d like to know how you arrived at that number, because folks have done some checking, and you can get a pack of generic birth control pills for $9 at a Target store just 3 blocks from the Georgetown Campus. That only adds up to $108. What does the other $892 pay for? Lingerie? “Toys”? Batteries? XXX-Rated DVDs? Chocolate? Wine? Dinner and a show?
And, really? “An entire summer’s salary” is only $1000 ($3,000/3 yrs of law school)? A person getting paid minimum wage in the District of Columbia who works full-time for 3 months would make just a little under $4000 before taxes ($8.25/hr X 40 hrs X 12 weeks = $3960).
Are you telling me that law firms only pay their summer interns 1/4 of the minimum wage?
It seems to me that you might want to focus your advocacy on “Worker’s Rights” and “Economic Justice” for law students.
Forty percent of female students at Georgetown Law report struggling financially as a result of this policy.
Tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year at Georgetown Law was $46,865. And you expect me to believe that an additional $108/year is going to make someone “struggle financially”? Give me a break.
One told us of how embarrassed and powerless she felt when she was standing at the pharmacy counter, learning for the first time that contraception wasn’t covered, and had to walk away because she couldn’t afford it.
Let’s see – $9.00 a pack/30 days = $0.30/day.
So you’re telling me that a law student felt “embarrassed and powerless” because she “couldn’t afford” to save up 30 cents a day to pay for her own birth control pills? That doesn’t bode well for a career in the courtroom – gracious me, how is she going to feel when a judge asks her to defend a case?
Somebody better go check on Gloria Steinem – she’s got to be in absolute vapors on the floor of her living room. All those bras that were burned back in the 70s, and the Women’s Movement has been stopped in its tracks because some poor little twenty-something couldn’t give up a couple of Double Espresso Lattes at Starbucks each month.
Let’s hear it for Girl Power! You’ve come a long way, baby.
Just on Tuesday, a married female student told me she had to stop using contraception because she couldn’t afford it any longer.
Ummm – correct me if I’m wrong, but if two people are going to get married and they don’t want to have kids right away, shouldn’t they be including the cost of contraception in their monthly budget? If they can’t afford birth control pills, can’t they get free condoms just about everywhere?
It’s a good thing they aren’t trying to have kids – it doesn’t sound like they have figured out how to take care of themselves yet.
You might respond that contraception is accessible in lots of other ways. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Women’s health clinics provide vital medical services, but as the Guttmacher Institute has documented, clinics are unable to meet the crushing demand for these services.
The Guttmacher Institute? The statistical arm of Planned Parenthood? The same Planned Parenthood that claims “only 3%” of their services are abortions? THAT Guttmacher Institute?
Just what, exactly, are all of those tax dollars that are being funneled to Planned Parenthood paying for if not “contraceptive services”?
Silk examination gowns and platinum speculums?
A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome and has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown insurance because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy. At many schools, it wouldn’t be…
I’m afraid you’re going to have to name names here, sweetie – because I can’t think of a single school that WOULDN’T cover something like that. But the fact is that thanks to Obamacare, a parent’s insurance policy is required to cover their adult children up to the age of 26, and most law students would probably fall under that umbrella. So your friend should be covered already.
You’re studying law, right? You’re due to graduate in 3 months, and they haven’t taught you how to make an effective case yet?
…when you let university administrators or other employers, rather than women and their doctors, dictate whose medical needs are good enough and whose aren’t, a woman’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body.
But you’re perfectly fine with letting the Secretary of Health and Human Services “dictate whose medical needs are good enough and whose aren’t”, right? Because that is exactly how Obamacare is set up. And the last time that I checked, HHS isn’t “women and their doctors”, it’s a bureaucracy.
And what are you going to do when a Republican administration is in office? What if someone like Rick Santorum or Sarah Palin is named the new HHS Secretary?
For my friend, and 20% of women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription, despite verification of her illness from her doctor.
But you just said that this condition was covered, didn’t you?
And I’m afraid you are going to have to back up your “20% of women in her situation” claim with some documentation. Being a law student, you should already know this.
Her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted the birth control to prevent pregnancy. She’s gay, so clearly polycystic ovarian syndrome was a much more urgent concern than accidental pregnancy. After months of paying over $100 out-of-pocket, she just couldn’t afford her medication anymore and had to stop taking it.
So you’re telling us that she wasn’t willing to take some other medication to treat her PCOS? As you say, pregnancy isn’t a concern for her, so I don’t really understand why she would want to take birth control pills in the first place.
Unless she was trying to make a point.
Which tells me that she was more interested in stirring up trouble than in treating a medical condition of “urgent concern”.
I learned about all of this when I walked out of a test and got a message from her that in the middle of her final exam period she’d been in the emergency room all night in excruciating pain. She wrote, “It was so painful, I woke up thinking I’d been shot.” Without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the size of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary. She had to have surgery to remove her entire ovary.
Just how old IS this young lady? If she is old enough – and smart enough – to be in law school, then she is certainly old enough and smart enough to figure out how to take care of herself. And if she’s not able to do that, then she sure as heck doesn’t have any business going out in the world and practicing law.
She’s not here this morning. She’s in a doctor’s office right now.
I’m going to need to see a doctor’s note.
Since last year’s surgery, she’s been experiencing night sweats, weight gain, and other symptoms of early menopause as a result of the removal of her ovary.
Didn’t they give her medication for that?
She’s 32 years old. As she put it: “If my body is indeed in early menopause, no fertility specialist in the world will be able to help me have my own children. I will have no chance at giving my mother her desperately desired grandbabies, simply because the insurance policy that I paid for totally unsubsidized by my school wouldn’t cover my prescription for birth control when I needed it.” Now, in addition to facing the health complications that come with having menopause at an early age– increased risk of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, she may never be able to be a mom.
I’ve got news for you, Ms. Fluke – if your “friend” is 32 years old, her days of fertility are numbered. A woman’s fertility peaks at around the age of 27, so she is already on borrowed time.
And I know this is going to sound mean-spirited, but if your friend is gay, has PCOS, and is down to just one ovary, then maybe somebody up there is trying to tell her that she isn’t supposed to have children in the first place.
Are we also going to be expected to pay for your friend’s fertility treatments? (You’re already on record advocating that insurance companies should be required to pay for gender reassignment surgery.)
One student told us doctors believe she has endometriosis, but it can’t be proven without surgery, so the insurance hasn’t been willing to cover her medication.
I’m going to be honest here, sweetie – I don’t think that ANY doctor is going to be willing to prescribe medication for a condition unless and until that condition has been confirmed, and no insurance company is going to pay for any medication without a doctor’s prescription.
In other words, your “argument” doesn’t have any merit.
Maybe you need to be spending more time hitting the books, and less time testifying in front of a Congressional pseudo-panel.
Last week, a friend of mine told me that she also has polycystic ovarian syndrome. She’s struggling to pay for her medication and is terrified to not have access to it. Due to the barriers erected by Georgetown’s policy, she hasn’t been reimbursed for her medication since last August. I sincerely pray that we don’t have to wait until she loses an ovary or is diagnosed with cancer before her needs and the needs of all of these women are taken seriously.
Okay – if she’s “struggling to pay for her medication”, then she is able to actually GET said medication, correct? Then how on earth is she going to “not have access to it”? Since she’s been able to pay for her medication since last August, I’m assuming that she did, indeed, have access to it and she was, indeed, somehow able to find a way to pay for it.
So – amazingly enough – it can be done.
And it’s sweet of you to pray for your friend – I guess that makes you one of those evil “religious” people, huh?
One student told us that she knew birth control wasn’t covered, and she assumed that’s how Georgetown’s insurance handled all of women’s sexual healthcare, so when she was raped, she didn’t go to the doctor even to be examined or tested for sexually transmitted infections because she thought insurance wasn’t going to cover something like that, something that was related to a woman’s reproductive health.
Just what do all of those Women’s Protection classes teach you ladies, anyway? I assume you have been to at least one of those, right? I can’t imagine they have changed in the 30 years since I was in college; the FIRST thing that we were told to do if, God forbid, we were raped was to REPORT IT TO THE POLICE, who would in turn make sure that we were taken to a local emergency room so that a rape kit could be done.
Have you gals failed to take responsibility for passing this information along each semester to the other ladies on campus?
Are you telling me that this young lady was too helpless to take care of herself? And that all of her fellow “sisters in arms” weren’t looking out for her and making sure that she was getting the help that she needed?
You ladies are so gung-ho for Planned Parenthood – are you honestly telling me that she couldn’t avail herself of their services? After all, I’m sure that something like that would be covered in the 97% of the non-abortion services that they claim to provide.
In the media lately, conservative Catholic organizations have been asking: what did we expect when we enrolled at a Catholic school? We can only answer that we expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success.
Now see, here’s where your argument completely falls apart, because you knew EXACTLY what Georgetown’s policy on this issue was BEFORE you decided to go there. As a matter of fact, Georgetown’s policy on this issue is one of the reasons that you deliberately CHOSE to go there.
The school didn’t “create untenable burdens that impede our academic success” – their policy on providing contraception was already in place. In fact, it had been in place LONG before you decided to grace them with your divine presence.
And how on earth does lack of contraception coverage “impede” your “academic success”? Have they started making birth control pills that help you make a better grade in your “Torts and Contracts” class?
Maybe I need to be taking some of these miracle pills myself.
We expected that when 94% of students opposed the policy, the university would respect our choices
Respect is a two-way street, sweetheart – how about you show some respect yourself?
How about you “respect” the right of a Catholic university to follow the teachings of their church? How about you and the “94% of students” who oppose this policy find another university that doesn’t have that kind of policy, instead of throwing a temper tantrum because you can’t get your way?
It’s a free country, and there are plenty of good law schools out there. If you were able to get into Georgetown Law School, I have no doubt that you would be able to get into just about any law school in the country.
You made your choice, knowing full well what you were getting yourself into. Don’t expect people to feel sorry for you because you have found yourself in a situation of your own making.
We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health, and we resent that, in the 21st century, anyone thinks it’s acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women.
What are you going to do – hold your breath until you turn blue in the face? Have fun.
(You might wanna check to see if Georgetown’s insurance policy covers reconstructive surgery – you’re gonna hit that floor pretty hard….)
YOU are the one who made the choice, so the only person that you are allowed to “resent” is you.
You know what I resent?
I resent someone like you thinking that it is acceptable to ask the rest of the country to listen to you whine about how life isn’t fair.
I resent someone like you storming your way into a private religious institution and telling them that they have to violate their religious tenets because you have a problem with it.
I resent someone like you trampling on a church’s First Amendment protections because you want to prove a point.
But you know what I resent most of all?
Knowing that someone like you – who doesn’t have a problem with making stuff up to advance a personal agenda – is going to be allowed to practice law.
[Cross-posted at RedState]
[Update 03/12/12]: Thanks to American Digest for making this one of their “Sidelines” of the day – what a thrill! Thanks, also, to “Wheat and Weeds” for spotlighting this post – I appreciate it!
[Update 03/19/2012]: Planet Moron has a great post on the “Fluke Translator” – now in one handy place, a way to interpret what Ms. Fluke REALLY means!