When Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke spoke in front of an informal Congressional hearing organized by House Democrats early this year, only to be slammed by conservatives and labeled a "slut," a liberal star was born. And now that Fluke is speaking at the Democratic National Convention as something of a war hero, that star looks likely to rise in the Democratic firmament.
But like all sudden, unexpected celebrities, Fluke has baggage. As we've already documented, Fluke is a leader of one of the more radically pro-abortion groups in America. However, quite aside from this obvious association, her academic background may also be a potential minefield for social moderates within the Democratic party. Charles C. Johnson of the Daily Caller has already uncovered at least one of the mines Democrats might have to tiptoe around if Flukes continues her ascendancy:
Fluke and co-editor Karen Hu advocated remaking U.S. law to remove what they called a “gender bias” at the root of denying coverage for “transgender medical needs,” describing it as “a prime example of direct discrimination."
“Transgender persons wishing to undergo the gender reassignment process frequently face heterosexist employer health insurance policies that label [gender-reassignment] surgery as cosmetic, or medically unnecessary and therefore uncovered,” Fluke and Hu wrote for the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law.
The review article was titled “Employment Discrimination Against LGBTQ Persons” and appeared in print in 2011.
By some estimates, sex change operations can cost between $15,000 and $20,000; the cost for some procedures can be as high as $50,000. Fluke and other advocates want insurers to cover all such operations. In general, assuming the costs of new coverage mandates tends to raise rates for all enrollees in a given health-care plan.
There is precedent for requiring insurers to cover these procedures. In Wisconsin, transgender prison inmates sued in federal court and won under the Eighth Amendment to overturn a law that barred public funding of sex changes. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case in March, allowing the decision to stand.
While many state legislatures may not be likely to follow suit, Fluke and Hu wrote that they hope left-leaning courts will expand the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include Americans who do not self-identify with what they call traditional “gender identity” or “gender norms.” The Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Fluke was also thanked and acknowledged in the 2003 book, “Gender, Justice, and Law: From Asylum to Zygote-Issues and Resources for Judicial, Legal, and Continuing Legal Education.“ The book was published by the National Judicial Education Program, a project of the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, where Fluke was employed.
That's right. Fluke doesn't only want contraception (by many accounts, a relatively low-cost form of medication) foisted on insurance companies by law. She also wants them to be forced to cover sex change operations that could cost up to $50,000. Why? Because not doing so would apparently constitute discrimination against people who feel they were born with the wrong gender, and want to "transition" out of it, hence the word "transgender."
It is improbable that the Democrats will accept this particular plank of Fluke's ideology just yet, however it is something to keep in mind when Fluke takes the stage at this week's DNC.