LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Sandra Fluke, the women’s rights activist who became a lightning rod in a national discussion about contraception, said she is “strongly considering” a run for Henry Waxman’s soon-to-be vacant House seat.
Waxman, 74, a longtime liberal California Democrat, described by friends and foes alike as one of the most prolific congresspersons of modern times, announced Thursday that he would retire at the end of the legislative session.
In a statement released after Waxman’s announcement, the 32-year-old Fluke said, “I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate, especially for Rep. Waxman’s seat, considering his incredible legacy. A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running. I’ll be making my decision soon.”
Waxman served in Congress for 40 years.
In 2012, Fluke was a law student at Georgetown who urged a congressional panel to cover women’s contraception needs in Obamacare. After she testified, radio host Rush Limbaugh lambasted her with a series of personal attacks. He made Fluke almost a household name overnight when he referred to her as “a prostitute” and “a slut.” He also reportedly said that if Fluke wanted contraception to be fully covered she should post videos of herself having sex on line so that he and others could watch.
Fluke became even more popular among liberals, many women’s groups, activists and Democrats when President Obama called her to offer his support after the Limbaugh controversy exploded.
At the time, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said Obama called Fluke, “to express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks and to thank her for her rights as a citizen to speak out on an issue of public policy.”
She told CBS News’ Nancy Cordes the president called her to make sure “I was okay.”
Fluke also told Cordes that she believed the Limbaugh insults were an attempt to try to “silence” her “and the millions of women who are speaking out now.”
The controversy led to Fluke having a featured speaking role at the Democratic Convention in September 2012. She gave a rollicking speech that stressed equal pay for women and contraceptive coverage.
“I’m honored to be standing at this podium. It easily could have been any one of you,” she said, regarding the Limbaugh contrempts. “I’m here because I spoke out, and this November each of us must do the same.”