Uncategorized

BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney's Record on Women

During the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney was asked a question about pay equity for women. Rather than admit that he has refused to say whether he would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and that his running mate voted against it, Romney instead spoke about being given “whole binders full of women” to consider when his closest advisers were incapable  of identifying qualified women for his cabinet. But as governor of Massachusetts, Romney neglected to elevate women to the bench by disproportionately nominating white males for judicial appointments.

Additionally, as both governor and as a presidential candidate, Romney has advocated policies that hurt women. Romney wants to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides access to basic health care for millions of women. In 2008, he claimed he was “not familiar” with the Violence Against Women Act. And in Massachusetts, Romney vetoed funding for breast and cervical cancer treatment and prevention on multiple occasions.

Governor Romney And Female Judges

Romney Stacked His Judicial Nominating Commission With Mostly White Males. According to the Boston Herald, “While claiming he wants more minorities and women on the bench, Romney has stacked his new Judicial Nominating Commission mainly with white males. There are only four minorities – three of them women – among the new slate of 17 JNC members, Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer confirmed. The other 13 are white men. She declined comment when asked whether a more diverse panel was needed. The panel originally appointed by Romney in 2003, when he vowed to strip politics from judicial appointments, was chaired by a black male, former Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph C. Martin II, and included a number of other minorities. The current chairman is a white male partner at Goodwin Procter LLP, Christopher D. Moore, who belongs to the conservative Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. Romney on Monday slammed members of the JNC he has recently replaced, saying they didn’t forward to him the names of women and minority candidates. Romney appointed a white woman, former federal prosecutor Ariane D. Vuono, to the Appeals Court yesterday.” [Boston Herald, 3/8/06]

Romney Appointed Mostly White Males To The Bench

Romney Had Only Nominated Two Women And Two Minorities Out Of All His Nominations For Judgeships After Two Years In Office. According to the Associated Press, “But two years into his term, Romney found himself under fire for not nominating enough women and minorities to the bench. Of the 19 nominations made by Romney by early 2005, 17 were men and only two were minorities.” [Associated Press, 11/28/07]

In His Final Year, Romney Nominated Four Women Judges In An Effort To Bring His Total Female Judge Appointments To 36 Percent. According to the Associated Press, “In his last year, Romney nominated four women to the bench, including Tuttman, saying they had ‘the capability, the qualifications and the experience to be fair and balanced jurists.’ The administration noted the four would bring to 36 the percentage of women Romney nominated to judicial office.” [Associated Press, 11/28/07]

Romney Ended His Term With 18 Women Out Of The Total 65 Judges He Appointed. According to Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly, “Romney was widely criticized for naming just four women to the bench in his first three years in office, a figure he attributed to a dearth of female applicants. Eventually 18 of the 65 judges he appointed by the time he left office were women, according to a list maintained by the Governor’s Council.” [Massachusetts Lawyer Weekly, 6/21/10]

Romney Passed Over “A Number Of Women With Lengthy Trial Experience” In His Judicial Nominations. According to the Boston Herald, “Despite his claim that his hand-picked advisers gave him too few qualified women for judicial slots, Gov. Mitt Romney has passed over numerous female applicants even after they cleared a tough screening process. Romney’s office has declined to say how many women and minorities have applied for judgeships, despite a 2003 vow to ‘shine a spotlight on the way judges are appointed to the bench.’ This week, Romney criticized longstanding members of his hand-selected Judicial Nominating Commission, saying they provided him with too few women and minority candidates. But a number of women with lengthy trial experience and deep knowledge of the state court system have been passed over by Romney, despite a thorough vetting of their credentials and background. Among them are Assistant U.S. Attorney Antoinette E. Leoney; Boston lawyer Toni Wolfman, whose clients have included the NAACP; and Boston trial attorney Sally Ann Janulevicus, according to some of the candidates and four legal sources familiar with their applications.” [Boston Herald, 3/9/06]

The Women’s Bar Association President Was “Very Concerned” With Romney’s Judicial Appointments. According to the Boston Herald, “Women’s Bar Association President Pamela E. Berman said the group is “very concerned over Gov. Romney’s failure to appoint women and minorities to judicial positions. We have been contacted by five women who are highly qualified, were approved by the JNC but the governor nominated white men instead.” [Boston Herald, 3/9/06]

Romney Would Not Say Whether He Supported Equal Pay For Women

Romney Initially Refused To Say Whether He Would Have Signed The Lilly Ledbetter Act. According to ABC News, during an interview, Diane Sawyer asked: “I want to talk about a couple of issues relating to women. This 19-point difference between you and the president on women. Here are some specific questions. If you were president — you had been president — would you have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Law?” Romney said “It’s certainly a piece of legislation I have no intend — intention of changing. I wasn’t there three years ago …” Sawyer interjected “But would you have signed it?” and Romney replied “I’m not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed, but I certainly support equal pay for women and — and have no intention of changing that law, don’t think there’s a reason to.” [ABC News, 04/16/12]

Romney Said He Would Not Change The Current Lilly Ledbetter Act Which Ryan Voted Against. According to The Huffington Post, “In April of this year, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign had a devil of a time explaining what exactly the presumptive Republican nominee’s position was on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the first bill signed into law by President Obama. At first, aides to the Massachusetts Republican said they’d get back to reporters with respect to the bill, which expanded the timeframe to bring forward equal pay lawsuits. Eventually, the campaign clarified that Romney was ‘not looking to change current law’ — a line that suggested he supported it now but didn’t explain whether he would have signed it to begin with. The Lilly Ledbetter Act has since receded as a campaign issue. But with the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Romney’s vice presidential nominee, it has the potential to once again resurface. The Wisconsin Republican’s position on the bill isn’t vague. He voted against the measure when it came to the House floor in January 2009.” [The Huffington Post, 8/13/12]

Lilly Ledbetter Said She Was “Shocked And Disappointed” That Romney Had To Think About Whether He Supported The Act. According to CBS News, “When the Romney campaign did not immediately express support for a 2009 law making it easier for women to file lawsuits to combat discriminatory pay, the Obama campaign pounced. Mr. Obama’s team widely distributed out a statement from the law’s namesake, Lilly Ledbetter, slamming the presumptive Republican nominee for the hesitation from one of his staffers. ‘I was shocked and disappointed to hear that Mitt Romney is not willing to stand up for women and their families,’ she said. ‘If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn’t have to take time to ‘think’ about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.’ The bill was the first piece of legislation Mr. Obama signed into law as president.”  [CBS News, 04/11/12]

Romney Was Opposed To The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act When It Was Passed. According to The Huffington Post, “Had Mitt Romney been president in 2009, he would not have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, a top adviser to the Republican nominee told The Huffington Post Tuesday night. Now that the law has been passed, Romney has no plans to get rid of it, that adviser, Ed Gillespie, added. But Romney didn’t support it while it made its way through Congress. ‘The governor would not repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act,’ said Gillespie, following Tuesday night’s presidential debate. ‘He was opposed to it at the time. He would not repeal it.’ The statement from Gillespie is the furthest that the Romney campaign has gone in detailing the candidate’s position on the law, which allows women greater opportunity to sue over pay inequity at the workplace. Previously, the governor’s campaign has said that he would not repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which was the first bill President Barack Obama signed into law, while leaving unanswered whether or not he would have signed it had he been president at the time.” [The Huffington Post, 10/16/12]

Romney Wants To Get Rid Of Planned Parenthood

Romney Said He Would “Get Rid” Of Planned Parenthood To Reduce The Federal Deficit. According to KSDK of Missouri, “…Mitt Romney detailed cuts to reduce the debt, including Planned Parenthood. […]As for ways to reduce debt, he suggests a few cuts. ‘The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it? And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrack, I’d eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities,’ he said.” [KSDK, 03/14/12]

Associated Press: Romney Risked Losing Women Voters After Saying He Would “Get Rid Of” Planned Parenthood. According to the Associated Press, “The Planned Parenthood controversy stems from a recent interview with a Missouri television station in which Romney addressed his plans to cut the federal deficit. ‘Is the program so critical that it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?’ Romney asked. ‘And on that basis, of course you get rid of ObamaCare, that’s the easy one. But there are others: Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can’t afford to borrow money to pay for these things.’ […]The Romney campaign contends that the remark has been taken out of context. Yet even the debate over what Romney meant or didn’t mean underscores the political peril he faces as the GOP nomination fight rages on. Facing continued conservative skepticism, Romney has been pushed further to the right to appeal to his party’s right flank. In doing so, he risks alienating key constituencies — women and independents, among them — while drawing unwanted attention to his inconsistent positions on social issues.” [Associated Press, New York Daily News, 03/15/12]

Romney Vetoed Legislation Requiring Hospitals Provide Emergency Contraception For Victims Of Rape

Romney Vetoed A Bill To Require Hospitals To Offer Emergency Contraception To Rape Victims But The Veto Was Overridden. According to the Eagle-Tribune, “There were also two controversial bills introduced that spurred a tussle between the Democratic majority-held Legislature and the Republican governor. Romney vetoed two bills that were later overridden by the Legislature. One law promotes stem cell research in Massachusetts and the second requires hospitals to offer emergency contraception pills to rape victims and allows pharmacists to provide them without a prescription.” [The Eagle-Tribune, 1/6/06]

2005: Romney’s Personal View Was That Rape Victims Should Have The Option Of Having Emergency Contraception. According to the Boston Globe, “Asked yesterday to elaborate on that position, Romney said simply that the law was the law and that the state had to follow it. The governor characterized his own beliefs about emergency contraception this way: ‘My personal view, in my heart of hearts, is that people who are subject to rape should have the option of having emergency contraception or emergency contraception information.’” [Boston Globe, 12/9/05]

2005: As Governor, Romney Vetoed A Bill That Would Require Hospitals To Offer Emergency Contraception To Rape Victims. According to the Huffington Post, “…As governor of Massachusetts in 2005, Romney took a harder line on contraception, vetoing a widely supported bill that would make the morning-after pill available over the counter in that state and require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. His surprising veto did not stand. The Massachusetts state Senate voted unanimously to overrule it, and the state House voted 139-16 to do the same.” [Huffington Post, 1/9/12]

In 2008, Romney Said He Was Not Familiar With The Violence Against Women Act

2008: Romney Said He “Was Not Familiar” With The Violence Against Women Act. According to Politico, “In 2008, Romney, asked about the VAWA, which has been reauthorized twice, said, ‘I’m not familiar with the Act.’ An adviser explained at the time that he didn’t know the law enough to debate it, but was against domestic violence and was familiar with state laws in Massachusetts designed to protect abused women.” [Politico, 4/18/12]

Romney Vetoed Breast And Cervical Cancer Treatment And Prevention Three Times

Romney Vetoed Funds For  Breast Cancer Detection

FY04 Budget Appropriated Funds For An Early Breast Cancer Detection Program And Mammograms For The Uninsured. According to House No. 4004 of 2003, Line Item 4570-1500 appropriated $3,029,488 “For an early breast cancer detection program, mammographies for the uninsured, and a breast cancer detection public awareness program.” [House No. 4004, 6/20/03]

FY04: Romney Vetoed $35,678 For Early Breast Cancer Detection & Research – The Legislature Overrode.  Romney reduced funding for early breast cancer detection & research by $35,678. The Senate overrode the reduction 39 to 1. The House voted to amend Romney’s reduction, 142 to 15. [Romney Veto Statement, House No. 4005, 6/30/03; Senate Journal, 7/16/03; House Journal, 7/16/03]

Romney Vetoed Funds For  Breast And Cervical Cancer Treatment

Romney Vetoed $2.8 Million For Cervical And Breast Cancer Treatment. According to Lowell Sun, “Romney vetoed the entire $2.8 million earmark for cervical and breast cancer treatment, cut $6.6 million a little more than half from a program to counsel first-time mothers under 21. He also cut the entire $654,942 account for gambling treatment, eliminated $1 million in funds for prostate cancer prevention.” [Lowell Sun, 7/1/03]

Romney Ended All Funding For A Cervical And Breast Cancer Program. According to The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “Romney also trimmed funding to dozens of other state programs, from the end of all funding for a cervical and breast cancer program to a $10 million cut from kindergarten expansion grants, to the elimination of a $5 million water and sewer rate relief program and $750,000 for zoos.” [The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 6/30/03]

FY04 Budget Appropriated Funds For Women Who Require Medical Treatment For Breast Or Cervical Cancer. According to House No. 4004 of 2003, Line Item 4000-0875 appropriated $2,784,551, “For the provision of benefits to eligible women who require medical treatment for either breast or cervical cancer in accordance with…the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000…provided, that the division shall seek to obtain federal approval to limit the provision of said benefits to women whose income…does not exceed 250 per cent of the federal poverty level…that eligibility for such benefits shall be extended solely for the duration of such cancerous condition; provided further, that prior to the provision of any benefits covered by this item, said division shall require screening for either breast or cervical cancer at the comprehensive breast and cervical cancer early detection program operated by the department of public health.” [House No. 4004, 6/20/03]

FY04: Romney Vetoed $2,784,551 For Cervical And Breast Cancer Benefits – The Legislature Unanimously Overrode. Romney vetoed “$2,784,551 for cervical/breast cancer benefits.” The House overrode Romney’s veto 157 to 0. The Senate overrode Romney’s veto 40 to 0. [Romney Veto Statement, House No. 4005, 6/30/03; Senate Journal, 7/17/03; House Journal, 7/16/03]

State House Voted To Restore Cancer Screening Funding. According to The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “In a flurry of activity, the House also restored money for breast and cervical cancer prevention, anti-smoking programs, travel and tourism grants, and a program to reimburse communities for placement of special education students in residential programs . . . Representatives restored $7 million in additional education aid; $6.5 million for special education costs; $2.8 million for breast and cervical cancer programs; $1.7 million for the Suffolk Social Law Library; $1 million for prostate cancer prevention; $823,000 for the Department of Mental Retardation; and $675,000 for environmental protection.” [The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 7/16/03]

House Unanimously Restored Funding To Cancer Screening Programs. According to Telegram & Gazette, “The House voted 157-0 yesterday to restore $2,784,551 for programs to prevent breast and cervical cancer and 153-4 to restore $1 million for prostate cancer prevention. The governor had vetoed all funds for those programs as part of his effort to eliminate the multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall.” [Telegram & Gazette, 7/17/03]

Senate Followed House In Approving Veto Overrides, Restoring Cancer Treatment And Screening Funding. According to The Associated Press State & Local Wire, “House and Senate lawmakers tackled more of Gov. Mitt Romney’s vetoes Thursday, restoring money for dozens of programs, from elderly home care services and recycling programs to water and sewer rate relief and legal aid for the poor. Other vetoes given final approval included money for cervical and breast cancer prevention, school-based health programs, smoking prevention, library assistance, work force training and tourism and travel grants.” [The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 7/18/03]

Romney Vetoed Funds For  A Breast Cancer Detection Study

FY06: Romney Reduced Funding For Early Breast Cancer Detection Studies By $107,500 – The Legislature Overrode. Romney reduced the appropriation for early breast cancer detection studies by $107,500 to $3,284,833. The House overrode Romney’s veto 151 to 0. The Senate voted to override Romney’s veto 36 to 2. [Romney Veto Statement, House No. 4230; Senate Journal, 7/14/05; House Journal, 7/14/05]

Romney Vetoed $107,500 For Breast Cancer Detection Funding. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Romney vetoed “$107,500 for early breast cancer detection funding; funding for these services currently stands at $3.3 million.” [Massachusetts Budget And Policy Center, 7/7/05]

Romney Proposed A Cut Of $107,500 To Breast Cancer Detection Services. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Romney proposed in his FY07 budget, “$3.3 million for early breast cancer detection services, $107,500 less than in FY 2006. The Governor states that this is just a reduction of one-time costs from FY 2006. This is a real reduction of $8.2 million since FY 2001, or 71 percent.” [Massachusetts Budget And Policy Center, 2/1/06]

Romney’s Lt. Governor Cautioned Against Cuts To Preventative Programs

 Romney Admitted Lt. Gov. Healey Cautioned Him Against Cutting Preventative Programs. According to a Boston Herald Opinion Column, “Take the reductions in various preventive-illness programs, from breast cancer research and screening to AIDS screening and teen-pregnancy prevention, and the $10 million stripped from anti-smoking programs. Even Romney admitted, at a town meeting in Leominster on Thursday, that Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey had cautioned him that cutting a preventive program likely to save heavy medical costs in the long run seemed ‘penny-wise, pound-foolish.’ He said something had to go when the state’s well was dry.” [The Boston Herald, Wayne Woodlief Opinion Column, 2/2/03]