Patricia Heaton (Kevork Djansezian / Associated…)
Patricia Heaton's rush to support Rush Limbaugh this week shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has closely followed her rise as one of the most successful comedic actresses in Hollywood.
Heaton, a Twitter power-user who dubs her more than 69,000 followers "Tweatons," used the social media platform to join Limbaugh in blasting Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke for speaking out in favor of President Obama's proposal that health insurance provide free birth control.
A sample of Heaton's Tweets, since deleted: "Hey G-Town Gal: If your parents have to pay for your birth control, maybe they should get a say in who you sleep with! Instant birth control!" and "G-Gal: you’ve given yer folks great gift for Mother’s/Father’s Day! Got up in front of whole world & said I’m having tons of sex- pay 4 it!"
The tweets followed Limbaugh's comments calling Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" and have been criticized by some as a disturbing trend toward publicly shaming women who speak openly about sex and reproductive healthcare. Limbaugh has apologized, and so has Heaton.
Many people were shocked by Heaton's support of Limbaugh -- but perhaps they shouldn't have been.
Heaton is that rarest of Hollywood creatures: an outspoken Hollywood Christian and Republican.
Heaton, 54, is best known for playing the long-suffering Debra on the CBS hit comedy "Everybody Loves Raymond," and is currently starring in ABC's "The Middle."
Over the years, Heaton has been a favorite with female audiences for pulling back the curtain on Hollywood glitz and glamour.
She is known for talking openly and hilariously about real life -- plastic surgery included -- and the trials and tribulations of balancing work and raising kids. That made her a natural go-to spokeswoman for the Albertson's supermarket chain, the face of every woman struggling to get dinner on the table each night.
"Verbally fearless" is how the Washington Post described her collection of autobiographical essays in her 2003 "Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine."
Away from the TV camera, Heaton has racked up an equally impressive resume of conservative credentials including honorary chairwoman of the group Feminists for Life. She is hailed for being a "consistent life ethicist" with a stance opposing abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and the death penalty.
In 2005, the two-time Emmy winner was a vocal proponent in the fight to keep Terri Schiavo alive. The profoundly brain-damaged woman had been in a coma for years after a cardiac arrest. Her parents wanted her kept alive, in keeping with their Catholic faith. But Schiavo's husband successfully fought a legal battle to remove Schiavo's feeding tube and allow her to die.
Heaton is currently part of a growing online campaign to free Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is said to be imprisoned and sentenced to death for renouncing his Islamic faith in favor of Christianity.
As part of her apologies to Fluke, Heaton tweeted that her actions were unbecoming to her faith:
"Tweatons...I crossed the line w/@SandraFluke. Don't agree w/her views, but I was not showing Christ's love."
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