Updated 2:53 p.m.
President Barack Obama called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, who has been the focus of character attacks by Rush Limbaugh, to thank her for speaking her mind about contraception, according to The Washington Post.
The Post reports that during an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Fluke described her conversation with the president, "...He said to tell my parents that they should be proud. And that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me."
President Jack DeGioia defended Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke against the "misogynistic, vitriolic" comments made about her by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and others in the "blogosphere," in an email sent to the University community Friday. DeGioia called for a "civil discourse" befitting of the American tradition of free speech.
Republicans prevented Fluke from testifying before a Congressional committee hearing on the Obama Administration's policy on contraception; the committee received testimony from a panel made up entirely of men. She later spoke before a Democratic hearing on the same topic and voiced her support for access to contraception.
Earlier this week, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her views, according to the Huffington Post.
Though her positions do not necessarily correspond with the views of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, DeGioia was firm in his call for a civil conversation about values.
"One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression," wrote DeGioia.
About Fluke's testimony, he wrote in an email to the university community, "She was respectful, sincere, and spoke with conviction. She provided a model of civil discourse."
In another email a list of faculty members and senior administrators of Georgetown University Law Center offered their support for Fluke's right to "advocate for her beliefs":
Ms. Fluke has had the courage to publicly defend and advocate for her beliefs about an important issue of widespread concern. She has done so with passion and intelligence. And she has been rewarded with the basest sort of name-calling and vilification, words that aim only to belittle and intimidate. As scholars and teachers who aim to train public-spirited lawyers, no matter what their politics, to engage intelligently and meaningfully with the world, we abhor these attacks on Ms. Fluke and applaud her strength and grace in the face of them.
DeGioia called on the University community to consider the goals of American society in their discourse, debate and advocacy.
"The greatest contribution of the American project is the recognition that together, we can rely on civil discourse to engage the tensions that characterize these difficult issues, and work towards resolutions that balance deeply held and different perspectives," he wrote.