Georgetown University law student and reproductive health advocate Sandra Fluke appeared on CNN’s Starting Point Tuesday to discuss an opinion piece she wrote for CNN.com entitled “Slurs won’t silence women.” CNN political contributor Will Cain held Fluke’s feet to the fire over her claim that opponents were trying to limit health access for women.
“You used this word several times, ‘access,'” said Cain. “I hope you and I can agree on one term of this debate. That is, no one is attempting to ban contraception or limit access and make it illegal for women to have this! The debate is about who should be providing it, who should be paying for it. Should employers determine what is involved in their compensation, determined in their health care benefits or should the government make certain requirements of employers? Can we agree that is what this debate is about?”
“Not exactly,” Fluke shot back at Cain. “I think there are multiple ways to limit access. Certainly making something illegal would be the most extreme form, but not covering it as a health care benefit the way other types of health care benefits are covered is another way to limit access and that’s what many women across the country are currently experiencing when they — even if they have insurance, co pays, can be as high as $50 a month, which is significant for a woman not making a lot of money.”
“But Sandra, couldn’t that same logic be applied to so many other things that health care doesn’t cover, such as gym memberships?” Cain countered. “Exercise is important to health but that’s not covered by health care insurance. Couldn’t that logic you’re using, saying access is denied because it’s not being offered to you for some reduced price, apply to so many things?”
“I think that that’s not a fair comparison!” Fluke exclaimed. “And most women would tell you that’s not a fair comparison!”
Fluke appeared to be taken aback by the tenor of questioning that Cain took in what is perhaps her most challenging television appearance to date.
“I would add to that, isn’t gym membership — isn’t part of her argument if gym membership were covered for other employees?” O’Brien asked. “It’s covered for other people at Georgetown. Her point was that the janitors actually get their contraception covered. The gym membership I think is a flawed analogy.”
“No, it focuses on the right question,” Cain responded. “Should employers determine the benefits or should the government be mandating what employers provide?”
Watch Cain and Fluke debate below, via CNN:
Editor’s note: This post has been edited since its original posting – Jon Nicosia
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