UPDATE: Why Didn’t the Advertisers Drop Rush Limbaugh Before Now?

A few days ago, I wrote that we should not consider as heroes those companies that have dropped their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh shows.  If they were really socially responsible, they would never have advertised with him at all.  The number of companies dropping the advertising continues to grow.  The Center for American Progress provides the report below.  What I find laughable from the report is that “[t]he advertisers have also requested to be excluded from other right-wing hosts including Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity [because Limbaugh and those shows] have been “’deemed to be offensive.’”  Of course they’re offensive.  They have always been offensive.  Again, don’t think any better of those companies because they now are dropping their advertising.  They should have never been advertising on them.

Here is the excerpt of the Center’s report:

Advertiser Exodus Grows Exponentially

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Rush Limbaugh’s vile, sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke and other women have taken a severe toll on his show.

Here’s the latest.

  • At least 140 Companies Have Dumped Limbaugh

ThinkProgress has obtained an internal memo from Premiere Radio Networks listing 96 national companies that have “specifically asked” their advertisements not be played during the Rush Limbaugh Show. Premiere is the distributor of Limbaugh’s program. The advertisers have also requested to be excluded from other right-wing hosts including Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. According to the memo, the listed companies’ advertisements should be excluded from these programs because they have been “deemed to be offensive.”

With these 96 new companies bailing on Limbaugh, the total number of advertisers boycotting Limbaugh has reached at least 140.


Why Didn’t the Advertisers Drop Rush Limbaugh Before Now?

According to reports, there are now more than 30 advertisers who have left the Rush Limbaugh show.  That list includes Netflix, Sears, Capital One, and J.C. Penney.  In addition, two radio stations have dropped his program.  All of that is great, but I imagine that everything will eventually get back to normal for Limbaugh and he will continue to spew his hatred.  As Jon Stewart said, he is just a terrible person.

I suppose there is a chance that Clear Channel will suspend him for a short period and more advertisers will bail.  But, after all, money is money.  Does anyone really believe that advertisers will put their “morals” before money?  Inevitably, Limbaugh will be back with full advertising dollars and as horrible as ever.

So, don’t think that Netflix and Sears (etc.) are heroes.  If they had any sense of social responsibility, they would not have been advertising on his show at all.  After all, he has been calling feminists “feminazis” almost from his time his show began many years ago.  He has ranted against gays and lesbians from the beginning.  His is a special kind of hatred, which, as he says, is cloaked in “entertainment.”  I will continue my “hatred” of Limbaugh, and will continue to have a bad opinion of those companies that advertise on his shows and those individuals who listen to him.

Obama’s Cave-in on Emergency Contraception

You’ve probably seen the news today that the Obama administration has (again) caved-in to the right (including, of course, the churches) by overruling its own Food and Drug Administration’s decision that emergency contraceptives be available over-the-counter to anyone, including teenagers 16 years old and younger.  Thus, age restrictions will still be in place.  Here is what NOW has to say about it, including what it might mean to contraceptive coverage to women under the Affordable Care Act:

Emergency Contraception Betrayal:
Does President Obama Really Oppose Family Planning?

December 7, 2011

In a stunning betrayal of women, the Obama administration has sided with radical right politics in rejecting the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to remove an age restriction on emergency contraception.

The experts on the FDA advisory committee resoundingly supported all available scientific and medical evidence, declaring Plan B One-Step to be safe and effective for all women over the counter, regardless of age.

Today, Plan B One-Step is available without prescription to women ages 17 and above. However, because of the age restriction, it is held behind the counter in pharmacies, and women are required to produce either proof of age or a doctor’s prescription to access the drug.

Two years ago, a district court found that the FDA’s earlier decision to limit access on the basis of age was motivated exclusively by politics. The court ordered the FDA to reconsider, and the FDA ultimately complied, recently deciding to make Plan B One-Step available over the counter to all women regardless of age.

It is an unusual and infuriating move for the Obama administration to overrule that decision, especially at a time when rumors are flying that the president is on the brink of caving in to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by expanding religiously affiliated employers’ ability to deny contraceptive coverage to women under the Affordable Care Act.

NOW calls on the president to stop playing politics with the lives of women and girls. During the Bush years, women’s reproductive health was under constant attack. We don’t need more of the same from the Obama administration.

The “Pope” and Condoms

Well, isn’t this nice.  “Pope” Benedict (I hate using the title “Pope” as if the position has some exalted status) has now said that condom use by male or female prostitutes is sometimes justified since it is a “lesser evil” than the spread of AIDS.  And some people are calling that a step that will help his “legacy.”

No, his statements will not help his legacy; he should still be seen as the power-hungry, bigoted misogonyst that he (and his predecessors) have always been.  First of all, other than the most blind followers of the church, who even cares what the “Pope” says.  In fact, it is reported that some bishops have disregarded the “Pope’s previous “ban” on all condom use when it applies to the spread of AIDS.   And he gave his statements about condoms and AIDS not in any official church document, but merely in an interview for a book; he says that he “takes personal responsibility” for the statements but they are not official church teaching.  Essentially, he wants the church to officially keep its policy of no condom use ever while trying to polish his image a little bit in the wake of all the criticism he took about his policy of banning all use.

If this leads to any increased use of condoms, it is welcome.  But let’s not give any praise to the “Pope.”  He, and his sycophantic church officials, should only be criticized for all of the harm caused by their hugely harmful actions concerning sexuality, including the “ban” on condom use.


Contraceptives Under the New Health Care Bill

Twenty-seven states have laws that require some level of prescription contraceptive coverage.  Access to additional free or subsidized contraceptives may (or may not) occur in the fall, when the health care reform changes will require new health plans to begin providing a range of preventive health services at no cost to members.  What that means for contraceptive coverage is not yet known.  Michelle Andrews has an article in the Washington Post that talks about the issues.

Doctor Tries to Vaccinate Against Lesbianism & Interest in Male Careers

A steroid known as dexamethasone has been making headlines in its connection with prenatal usage and health risks. Yet one team of doctors remains committed to the drug, and is currently conducting studies to prove the effects of its use on reduction of homosexuality and ‘masculine life choices’ in girls.

Yes, you read that right. Dr. Maria New and her team are offering pregnant women injections of the steroid in hopes of preventing female fetuses from growing up to be lesbians, disinterested in “childcare/housewife roles”– or just generally uppity. They’re focusing on fetuses that may have CAH– congenital adrenal hyperplasia– which results in excess male hormones in the womb, but does not affect internal sex organs.

Studies have apparently shown that women with CAH have higher rates of homosexuality and lower rates of a desire for motherhood. As Dr. New’s research partner writes:

“CAH women as a group have a lower interest… in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role. As children, they show an unusually low interest in engaging in maternal play with baby dolls, and their interest in caring for infants, the frequency of daydreams or fantasies of pregnancy and motherhood.”

And this, the doctors believe, is an illness that must be treated– an imbalance that must be rectified. CAH isn’t some life-threatening problem, nor does it have any noticeable health effects. But for Dr. New, disinterest in performing the housewife role may as well be a disease. Dexamethasone is a potentially dangerous treatment thats experimental use has been denounced by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology, the European Society of Endocrinology, the Society of Pediatric Urology, the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society, and the CARES Foundation. But that doesn’t concern these doctors. They have categorized interest in “men’s careers and games” as abnormal, a desire that has to be fixed.

“[We must try to] restore this baby to the normal female appearance which would be compatible…with her eventually becoming somebody’s wife, and having normal sexual development, and becoming a mother. And she has all the machinery for motherhood, and therefore nothing should stop that, if we can repair her psychologically to continue to grow and develop as a girl.”

I always figured my childhood disinclination for Barbie, my lack of ‘fantasies of pregnancy,’  my skepticism of the institution of marriage & my desire for a career were byproducts of second wave feminist progress, solid education, quality parenting and independent, critical thinking. But hey, maybe I just needed some experimental steroids to fix my faulty female brain.

It’s been 24 years since homosexuality was removed entirely from the DSM. Yet this scientific crusade wants to believe that never happened, that homosexuality is a disorder to be fixed in the womb. The good news is that many have criticized their work on grounds of being ethically and even physically harmful.  Columnist Dan Savage picked up the story and castigated Dr. New’s research– highlighting the accomplishments of ‘untraditional’ women:

…The existence of adult women who are not interested in “becoming someone’s wife” and “making babies” constitutes a medical emergency that requires us to treat women who are currently pregnant with a dangerous experimental hormone. Otherwise their daughters might grow up to, um, be nominated to sit on the Supreme Court, serve as cabinet secretaries, take 18 Grand Slam singles titles, win Grammies, and take their girlfriends to prom.

Even if this sort of research is met with widespread criticism, it still has scary implications for classifying homosexuality as a disorder, as something to be avoided. Or for women who break out of the feminine mold, who seek to devote their energy not to birthing babies but to challenging gender norms by rising to the top of traditional male industries. Perhaps the salient, lamentable irony in this whole story is that Dr. Maria New herself is a female trailblazer– studying medicine at Cornell and UPenn in the 1950s, when there were only three other women at the time. As noted in her oral history transcript, she was driven, smart, and successful– but also came to believe that her main calling was to be a mother. So perhaps ‘male careers’ are acceptable for a woman– provided you have enough female interests to qualify you as the right kind of woman.

Regardless of Dr. New’s team’s genuine interest in treating a hormone ‘imbalance,’ their advocated angle & word choice is unacceptable. They’d rather inject pregnant women with steroids that have a host of unexplored, detrimental side effects than let babies grow into adults who might be gay, might be childless, and might just be successful.

‘Week After Pill’ Approved

An FDA advisory panel has officially approved Ella, the newest version of emergency contraception. Dubbed the “week after pill,” the drug works similarly to Plan B, but extends the window of effectiveness to up to 5 days after unprotected sex (Plan B currently protects only up to 72 hours). Furthermore, Plan B decreases in effectiveness after the first 24 hours, while Ella’s effectiveness remains the same, whether taken 1 day after sex or 5.

Rates of pregnancy in Plan B users are very low, at 2.8%. But Ella’s are even lower, at 1.8%. And there are few side effects associated with the pill– the only one found in trials has been ‘dizziness’. It’s been found safe, reliable, and effective.

So what’s the problem? Well, anti-abortion rights advocates are fighting against the approval of the drug, insisting that it’s actually an abortion pill. The president of the anti-feminist group Concerned Women of America stated that Ella is “an unsafe abortion pill that men might slip to unsuspecting women.” Although the notion of that occurring is awful, this argument is clearly a cheap ploy to stop the distribution of the drug, while pretending to be concerned about women’s autonomy. The argument also has little legitimacy since the drug would only be available with a prescription, and it’s not even an abortion pill.

The chemical used in both is similar, but the effects are completely different. Ella works primarily by delaying ovulation. Additionally, the approving doctors noted that the drug showed little evidence of disrupting existing pregnancies, already attached to the uterine wall.

Ella could be particularly helpful in cases of rape or sexual assault, where a 72 hour window may be too small for a victim to seek emergency contraception. As this NYT article points out, in the United States, “more than 25,000 [women] become pregnant every year after being sexually assaulted.” Having to deal with the serious emotional consequences, along with navigating the legal system, may leave a rape victim with little time to access Plan B within 3 days.

I fully support increasing all women’s access to reproductive rights services, giving more women the power to control their own bodies. Ella seems to be a promising new option.