| CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept 6
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept 6 Women's health activist
Sandra Fluke, who came under a barrage of attacks from
conservatives this year for supporting Democratic President
Barack Obama's contraceptive policy, lashed back on Wednesday in
an unflinching speech at Democratic National Convention.
"Your new president could be a man who stands by when a
public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful
slurs. A man who won't stand up to the slurs, or to any of the
extreme, bigoted voices in his own party," referring to
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's muted reaction
after conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut"
Fluke, then a 30-year-old law student at Georgetown
University, got caught up in heated debate over Obama's policy
requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception when she
spoke out against Republicans' efforts to scrap the policy.
Limbaugh called her a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her
comments. Limbaugh later apologized, but the controversy drove
advertisers from his national radio show.
Obama telephoned Fluke after Limbaugh's comments, and
invoked his concern for his two young daughters when he
explained why he had reached out to the student.
Fluke has been an active campaigner for Obama's re-election.
During the campaign, the party has focused on social issues
like abortion rights and insurance coverage for contraception to
appeal to women voters, while accusing Republicans of waging a
"war on women."
Republicans reject the charge, and contend that Obama's
policies hurt women by failing to alleviate stubbornly high
unemployment and do more to create a U.S. business environment
friendly to corporations that create jobs.
Fluke did not mention Romney by name in her short speech.
She also targeted Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Romney's vice
presidential running mate, a strong opponent of abortion rights.
Without naming him, Fluke said Ryan would be a vice
president who co-sponsored a bill that would "allow pregnant
women to die preventable deaths in our emergency rooms."
In the House of Representatives, Ryan has fought insurance
coverage for contraception and co-sponsored a bill to give
"personhood" rights to fetuses, a measure criticized as an
effort to forbid abortions even when they might be necessary to
save the life of a pregnant woman.