Coakley Criticism Proves Stereotypes Still Hurt Female Candidates

Lauren Martin

When will female candidates learn? You can't be too emotional, that makes you seem weak. So how can they act, you ask? That question remains unanswered.

Cross-posted at Women & Politics

When will you female candidates
learn? You can’t be too emotional, that makes you seem weak. But don’t be too
cold, that makes you an Ice Queen. Definitely don’t
focus on your gender, but don’t ignore it either.

Talk about your family and kids, but
not too much, because a busy candidate can’t be a good mother. If you don’t
have kids, you’d better be extra warm and fuzzy.

So how can you act, you ask?
That question remains unanswered. Why? Because our society has developed so
many extreme stereotypes for women that we no longer know how to respond. We
don’t know what’s safe.

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As a result, female candidates end
up trying to traverse the icy trail of double standards, attempting
to choose between one extreme over the other, floundering around in the middle,
or just trying to be themselves.

Hillary Clinton has always been a
strong leader who doesn’t take any crap. But it wasn’t her experience or vision
that won over some voters, it was the fact that she cried on television. ("Oh
good, she does have emotions, I had no idea"). Would voters ever need to
see a male candidate cry to earn their support? Of course not. But apparently
Clinton had acted too removed, too hard, too much like…a man for
people’s taste.

But if Clinton had come out of the
gate overflowing with emotion about women and her campaign, she would have been
blasted for being a sappy female.

Meanwhile, Martha Coakley has
repeatedly been called "icy" and is now criticized for not emphasizing the historic nature of her
campaign. But should a female candidate dare express that her gender is indeed
one of her many qualifications, the response I always hear is, "I won’t vote
for a woman just because she’s a woman."

It seems women just can’t win. And
believe me, it’s not just women pointing this out (nor are women excluded from
judging based on stereotypes). To Politico, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, recounted that
despite her overwhelming win in Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton still faced
sexism from voters there.

McGovern also brought up how a local
paper concluded that Coakley’s new hair and makeup style were to blame for the
race tightening:

"They wouldn’t write this about a
man," McGovern said. "I still think we have a long way to go to make this an equal
playing field."

James Carroll of The Daily
Beast describes Massachusetts’ rich and long history of misogyny toward female
candidates:

"The short of it is that the most
liberal state in the nation … practices the politics of misogyny. When it comes
to positions of real power, no women need apply. Martha Coakley was croaked by
an electorate that could not get past her gender."

Martha Coakley’s loss in the special
election for the Massachusetts Senate seat leaves many of us angry that the
"progressive" state of Massachusetts continues to squeeze out women. It also
leaves us frightened about the future of women’s reproductive rights in the
health care bill.

Without Coakley, preventing attacks
on choice in health care reform looks bleak. And if Massachusetts serves as a
thermometer for the way our country is viewing female candidates, we’re in big
trouble.

It’s 2010, folks-when will the
double standards stop?

Roundups Politics

Here’s How the 2016 Presidential Candidates Reacted to the Shooting at Planned Parenthood

Ally Boguhn

Republican presidential candidates dismissed any connection between the anti-choice movement's coordinated smear campaign against Planned Parenthood and the shooting that killed three people on Friday.

Those in the 2016 presidential candidate field responded to news of the Friday shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three dead and nine injured with mixed reactions, ranging from condemnation of the rampage to dismissal of how rhetoric may have enabled the violence.

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, during an interview on Fox News Sunday, rejected any connection between the videos released by a discredited anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and the shooting, instead blaming the left wing for inserting the group into the conversation about the violence. Although she started by asserting that “it’s obviously a tragedy,” when asked by host Chris Wallace about pro-choice advocates linking the attack to extreme narratives against the health-care provider, Fiorina denied any connection and exploited the opportunity to again push debunked talking points about CMP.

“Well first it is not alleged, Planned Parenthood acknowledged several weeks ago that they would no longer take compensation for body parts, which sounds like an admission,” Fiorina said. “What I would say to anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts is, this is typical left-wing tactics.”

But as has been made clear, collecting, donating, and accepting reimbursement for the costs of transferring fetal tissue from clinics to labs is completely legal; realizing profits from such donations is not. Numerous investigations into Planned Parenthood’s tissue donation programs have turned up no wrongdoing. Planned Parenthood representatives have said the decision to forgo reimbursement altogether is intended to counter the strategy of anti-choice groups and GOP lawmakers attacking Planned Parenthood’s funding.

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday labeled the attack “domestic terrorism,” but nonetheless held steadfastly to his anti-choice rhetoric when discussing the shooting on CNN’s State of the Union.

“What he did is domestic terrorism, and what he did is absolutely abominable, especially to us in the pro-life movement, because there’s nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way on something like this,” Huckabee said. “There’s no excuse for killing other people, whether it’s happening inside the Planned Parenthood headquarters, inside their clinics where many millions of babies die, or whether it’s people attacking Planned Parenthood.”

Donald Trump labeled the gunman an “extremist” during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. The business mogul quickly turned the conversation to CMP’s heavily edited videos, attempting to revive criticism over Planned Parenthood. “I will tell you, there is a tremendous group of people that think it’s terrible, all of the videos that they’ve seen with some of these people from Planned Parenthood talking about it like you’re selling parts to a car,” Trump said. “I mean, there are a lot of people that are very unhappy about that.”

When asked by host Martha Raddatz on ABC’s This Week whether he agrees that “extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country,” Republican candidate Ben Carson claimed the rhetoric was coming “from both sides” and that “there is no saint here in this.”  

“I think both sides should tone down their rhetoric and engage in civil discussion,” Carson said. “If we can get rid of the rhetoric from either side and actually talk about the facts, I think that’s when we begin to make progress.”

Although Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) initially tweeted that he was “Praying for the loved ones of those killed, those injured & first responders who bravely got the situation under control in Colorado Springs,” the candidate later commented on the shooting by denying any connection it may have to the anti-choice movement.

Cruz, speaking with reporters during a Newton, Iowa campaign stop, said there was “very little evidence” the shooting had anything to do with violent rhetoric against Planned Parenthood, going on to lament what he deemed “vicious rhetoric on the left, blaming those who are pro-life.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush condemned the Colorado attack in a statement, writing, “There is no acceptable explanation for this violence, and I will continue to pray for those who have been impacted,” according to Politico.

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted his condolences, writing that “Senseless violence has brought tragedy to Colorado Springs. I pray for the families in mourning and have hope our nation can heal.”

Speaking at the New Hampshire Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke out about the shooting, saying that “We should be supporting Planned Parenthood, not attacking it.”

“The shooting on Friday was at, as you know, a Planned Parenthood clinic, a place where lots of women get healthcare they need—breast exams, STD testing, contraception and, yes, safe and legal abortions,” said Clinton, according to the Hill. “In Congress and on the campaign trail, Republicans that claim they just hate big government are only too happy to have government step in when it comes to women’s bodies and health,” she added before calling for gun control laws that Republicans have continually rejected.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) briefly remarked on the shooting in Colorado, telling the audience at the same New Hampshire rally, “I am running for president because, in these difficult times, against vitriolic Republican rhetoric, we must protect a woman’s right to choose and we must defend Planned Parenthood,” before offering condolences to the families of those impacted by the violence.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley strongly condemned the shooting, labeling it an instance of “domestic terrorism” and saying that the United States “cannot treat these acts of terrible violence as isolated incidents,” CNN reported. Using the attack in order to discuss gun violence around the country, O’Malley said, “This most recent act of terrorism took place at a Planned Parenthood office. Others have taken place in classrooms, schools, in church basements.”

“We have to call them out for what they are; they are acts motivated by intolerance, racism, and hate,” he continued. “They are designed to prey upon the vulnerable and the unsuspecting. They are in fact acts of murder and acts of terror. And wherever it happens, it is an assault on all of us.”

News Politics

Head of Planned Parenthood Attack Campaign Makes a New Allegation (Updated)

Sofia Resnick

Repeating allegations that Planned Parenthood illegally “harvests” and “sells” fetal tissue and murders fetuses that are “born alive,” Daleiden offered a new unfounded charge: He said Planned Parenthood is committing these acts in Washington, D.C.

Click here for all our coverage of the 2015 Values Voter Summit.

UPDATE, September 29, 10:07 a.m.: This article has been updated with comments from Planned Parenthood in response to specific allegations made by the Center for Medical Progress.

David Daleiden, the 26-year-old CEO of the Center for Medical Progress, doubled down on allegations that Planned Parenthood has broken federal laws at this year’s Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of social conservative politicians and leaders.

Repeating allegations that Planned Parenthood illegally “harvests” and “sells” fetal tissue and murders fetuses that are “born alive,” Daleiden offered a new unfounded charge: He said Planned Parenthood is committing these acts in Washington, D.C., the summit’s host.

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“Planned Parenthood’s flagship location in the capital of our free country is one of the locations recently partnered with the biotech company StemExpress to harvest and sell baby body parts,” Daleiden said Friday evening, on stage at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C.

“In the same city where the Declaration of Independence safeguards the inalienable rights of all human beings created equal, in the same city where Abraham Lincoln governed a free country to bring liberty to human beings who were treated like property—in this same city, little human beings are still being bought and sold,” he said.

Daleiden certainly tried to create a poetic image with this claim, but officials from Planned Parenthood’s D.C. affiliate say it is categorically false.

“Let us be clear, we do not and have not been offering patients the option of fetal tissue donation,” Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. spokeswoman Mara Braunger said in an email. “And while we applaud the women who choose to contribute to lifesaving medical research through donation in other states, this program simply does not exist at Planned Parenthood in the Washington DC area.”

Daleiden, however, stands by his claim that the Planned Parenthood D.C. affiliate partners with StemExpress. “[Planned Parenthood] Metro DC is either lying or their PR contact is misinformed,” Daleiden said in an email to Rewire.

As evidence, he forwarded Rewire a copy of a AOL Lifestream log he said StemExpress technicians use to communicate with one another. One of the locations listed is Washington, D.C. Downtown Center, but does not specify Planned Parenthood. Daleiden said the Lifestream log is from 2012, though the log doesn’t include a year.

A StemExpress spokesman, who asked not to be identified, said his company has never had a relationship with Planned Parenthood affiliates outside of California.

Laura Meyers, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, said Daleiden’s claims are untrue, and part of an ongoing campaign to smear the health care organization. Meyers said that because some patients had expressed interest in fetal tissue donation, Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington looked into creating such a program with StemExpress. The partnership never came to fruition and the fetal tissue program was never established, Meyers said.

“This is a lie, through and through,” she said. “More than 99 percent of Planned Parenthood’s health centers have no involvement in fetal tissue research, and that includes Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington’s health centers. We do not, and have not, facilitated tissue donation for our patients.”

Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., in July closed its downtown flagship location. The D.C. affiliate is constructing a new center in a different part of the District, which is scheduled to open early next year. National groups have protested the construction site, and some have repeated the claims Daleiden’s group has made to drum up local opposition to the new clinic.

Since mid-July, the Center for Medical Progress has released ten videos of secretly recorded conversations with Planned Parenthood and fetal-tissue procurement executives that have been edited to suggest that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal organs and performs illegal abortion procedures. Even the edited videos do not show proof or definitive admissions of these allegations; the Center for Medical Progress has implied them based on statements officials made in the videos.

The 20 hours of raw footage the group has released similarly do not show what Daleiden asserted as he stood at a podium before hundreds of supporters.

“Many of you have now seen the videos of top-level Planned Parenthood executives and abortion doctors callously discussing how to use illegal partial-birth abortion procedures to harvest the hearts, lungs, livers, and brains of live babies for profit,” Daleiden said, before playing a montage of highlights from the videos that concluded with the now-infamous quote from Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley’s medical director, Mary Gatter, joking that she wants a Lamborghini.

Planned Parenthood has denied all allegations regarding its fetal tissue donation program. And so far, multiple, ongoing state and congressional investigations have not been able to corroborate any of Daleiden’s claims.

That hasn’t stopped governors, congressional lawmakers, and presidential candidates from repeating Daleiden’s claims. Daleiden received a hero’s welcome at this year’s Values Voter Summit. His introducer, Katie Yoder of the Media Research Center—whose stated mission is to “expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media”—called Daleiden the “game-changer of the pro-life movement.”

Speakers throughout the afternoon called to defund Planned Parenthood, many of them directly citing the videos as reason to strip the health-care organization of the funding it receives to provide low-cost, non-abortion-related reproductive-health services.

Though congressional Republicans have threatened to shut down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood, it seems increasingly unlikely, now that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has resigned his speakership and House seat and is expected to pass a spending bill that funds the nonprofit.