First, before I say anything else, what I am about to say is in no way whatsoever intended to be a criticism of Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student who wanted to testify before Congress, and who has been smeared in an unspeakably vile fashion by Rush Limbaugh. She is a courageous woman -- more so than I would have been in her shoes.
This debate over coverage for birth control -- or availability of birth control, even -- is not going to go away. And we progressives need to be prepared. We need to plan to have the most sympathetic and least politically vulnerable witnesses we can.
Let the young single women speak. But be prepared that the nastier fundamentalist factions are going to get very personal, very quickly. Regardless of what happens with Limbaugh -- and he is facing a massive outcry -- next time there will still be odious people raising questions about the morality of any young woman who dares suggest she *gasps* enjoys sex.
No. We need a married mother of three to speak for whom the coverage for contraception is economically important. After all, you can argue that a single woman should not be having sex, but what about a married woman? More importantly to some of these people, should a married woman's husband be forced to go without sex because they cannot afford to raise another child and reliable contraception gets expensive?
We need women who take hormonal contraceptives for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy to speak out. While this is dangerous to some extent because it opens the door for restrictions based on "medical necessity," it is still important that people know that these drugs are prescribed for a variety of conditions.
The best witness would be a married mother of four whose husband is out of work and who is employed by a Catholic university. Or a woman who works for Catholic Charities who suffers from endometriosis.
It sounds cold, but we need to line up these witnesses now. Because this fight is NOT going away any time soon.