Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who became a household name when Rush Limbaugh called her a name of another sort, will be in Lincoln on Tuesday, headlining Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s annual fundraiser.
She’s following up a big act from last year -- Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show.”
No, Fluke said Thursday afternoon. She will probably not be funny.
She plans to talk about women’s health care, said the 31-year-old who graduated cum laude from Georgetown in May, passed the bar exam in July and lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé and their dog, Mr. President.
The small terrier has no political affiliation and is not named for a particular leader.
“He was named a long time ago -- my fiancé wanted to be able to say things like, ‘Don’t pee there, Mr. President.’”
Well then. Perhaps she will be funny.
Most of us remember the S-Word debacle, the public debate that followed, some of it ugly and some of it ridiculous -- Look, she’s having so much sex her birth control costs $1,000!
Fluke first came to Limbaugh’s attention late in February, after she was denied the opportunity to speak at a Republican-run House hearing on insurance coverage for birth control.
She later came to President Barack Obama’s attention.
And life hasn’t been the same since.
“It certainly has been a different 2012 than the one I expected, for better and worse …”
The better: “It’s uplifting and heartening to see how many people really care about the issues I’m talking about.”
And the worse: “I’m regularly surprised by how venomous people can be when it’s just a question of political disagreement.”
But the spotlight has allowed her to take her advocacy work to a different level, Fluke said.
“I think it’s also allowed me to give a voice and shine a light on the work that a lot of people are doing.”
Tari Hendrickson is the woman responsible for getting Fluke to Lincoln.
“Sandra was No. 1 on my list; I never had a No. 2,” said Planned Parenthood’s regional development and planned gifts director.
“She’s a voice of reason. I think she has raised the bar for rational conversation about a serious issue.”
It took time for Hendrickson to track down Fluke -- she’d spent the summer and early fall campaigning for senators, congresspeople, President Obama.
The pace has slowed post-election, although perhaps not for long.
Last week, Fluke’s name was put forward as one of 40 nominees for Time Magazine’s 2012 Person of the Year.
In its nomination bio, Time credited her speech at the Democratic National Convention -- watched by millions and viewed more than 100,000 times on YouTube -- as one “that helped Barack Obama trounce Mitt Romney among single women on Election Day.”
Agree with her politics, or not, Fluke is no fluke.
Her resume includes honors from the National Association of Women Lawyers, the American Federation of Teachers, American Constitution Society, NOW, Planned Parenthood, National Partnership for Women and Families.
Since her undergraduate days, she’s served on coalitions too numerous to name, advocating for gay rights and women’s rights and against human trafficking, and she's done extensive pro bono work for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
Fluke plans to continue to speak out.
“I think my ultimate goal is giving a voice to people who don’t always have one.”
She’s a Planned Parenthood fan and has been invited to several affiliates around the country. This will be her first trip to Nebraska.
Yes, she’s looking forward to it.
No, she has not yet had time to plan her wedding, but she is working out the details of a job in L.A.
And, in answer to a question about whether the radio show host who started all of this has called her to apologize: no.
“You think I’d give him my phone number?”