Election 2010: Women’s Groups Give Buck the Boot With Their Heels On

Jodi Jacobson

(VIDEO) Ken Buck put his proverbial low-heeled cowboy boot right into his mouth and now women's groups are focused on just how anti-woman his politics are.

This article is cross-posted from MsRepresentation, a project of the Women’s Campaign Fund, and with which I am a guest writer during the elections.

This summer, Ken Buck made a comment he may live to regret.  When asked why voters should vote for him in the GOP primary over Republican opponent Jane Norton, he replied: “Because I don’t wear high heels.”  That kind of thing might have gone down with the cowboys in the wild west of yore, but in 21st-century Colorado, in the age of YouTube, and most critically when women are the decisive voting constituency in many races, Buck put his proverbial low-heeled cowboy boot right into his mouth.

And now women voters are calling him on it.  CQ reports that Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund is “spending big bucks to remind local voters… that Ken Buck (R) has a history of making controversial off-the-cuff remarks that are unfriendly to women.”

So WVWV is spending more than $800,000 on an ad that began airing yesterday and will run through the end of the election, making what CQ calls “a fairly large buy (669 gross rating points) in the pricey Denver market.”

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“Colorado women deserve respect,” a Colorado mom tells voters in the 30-second ad. “We need leaders who will stand with us, whether we’re in high heels or cowboy boots.”

“Ken Buck thinks he’s more qualified because he doesn’t wear high heels, because he’s not a woman,” she says. “This coming from a DA who refused to prosecute an admitted rapist, saying the victim had ‘buyer’s remorse.”

In fact, Buck has a problematic history with addressing rape as a District Attorney, and one victim charges him with effectively talking her out of prosecuting her assailant, despite overwhelming evidence that he was in fact guilty and despite his own admission of guilt.  There is perhaps no time when a woman is more vulnerable than when facing an unwelcoming medical, forensic and legal system in reporting rape.  How Buck addressed this issue speaks volumes about his understanding of sexual violence, rape, and other issues of violence against women.

Add to this Buck’s willingness to play politics with women’s lives in other ways.  Buck is anti-choice. During the primary, for example, he was for Amendment 62, the so-called personhood amendment that would confer full rights on a fertilized egg from the moment of conception, effectively stripping the woman in whose body said egg was fertilized of all of her rights.  Amendment 62, if passed, would outlaw contraception and abortion, make it difficult if not impossible for a pregnant woman to, for example, access chemotherapy if needed, and result in a large number of other profound changes in law and social interaction, not to mention health care.

Except Buck suddenly discovered he wasn’t really for Amendment 62 when he got past the primary.  Now he’s just your usual anti-choice candidate, still for outlawing abortion and contraception, but now wanting to cater to a different base.

What I find interesting in all of this is that Republicans are crying foul on the high heels ad, by “maintain[ing] the comment was taken out of context.” And the National Republican Senatorial Committee called the ad an attempt to distract voters.  To which I ask: Really?  So an actual comment by an actual candidate with a history of misogynistic comments, policy positions and actions is a “distraction,” but those ads being paid for by the NRSC, the NRCC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that contain falsehoods about other candidates are not?

The double standard here appears to go well beyond what kind of shoes you wear.

News Abortion

Parental Notification Law Struck Down in Alaska

Michelle D. Anderson

"The reality is that some young women face desperate circumstances and potentially violent consequences if they are forced to bring their parents into their reproductive health decisions," said Janet Crepps, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. "This law would have deprived these vulnerable women of their constitutional rights and put them at risk of serious harm."

The Alaska Supreme Court has struck down a state law requiring physicians to give the parents, guardians, or custodians of teenage minors a two-day notice before performing an abortion.

The court ruled that the parental notification law, which applies to teenagers younger than 18, violated the Alaska Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and could not be enforced.

The ruling stems from an Anchorage Superior Court decision that involved the case of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands and physicians Dr. Jan Whitefield and Dr. Susan Lemagie against the State of Alaska and the notification law’s sponsors.

In the lower court ruling, a judge denied Planned Parenthood’s requested preliminary injunction against the law as a whole and went on to uphold the majority of the notification law.

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Planned Parenthood and the physicians had appealed that superior court ruling and asked for a reversal on both equal protection and privacy grounds.

Meanwhile, the State of Alaska and the notification law’s sponsors appealed the court’s decision to strike some of its provisions and the court’s ruling.

The notification law came about after an initiative approved by voters in August 2010. The law applied to “unemancipated, unmarried minors” younger than 18 seeking to terminate a pregnancy and only makes exceptions in documented cases of abuse and medical emergencies, such as one in which the pregnant person’s life is in danger.

Justice Daniel E. Winfree wrote in the majority opinion that the anti-choice law created “considerable tension between a minor’s fundamental privacy right to reproductive choice and how the State may advance its compelling interests.”

He said the law was discriminatory and that it could unjustifiably burden “the fundamental privacy rights only of minors seeking pregnancy termination, rather than [equally] to all pregnant minors.”

Chief Justice Craig Stowers dissented, arguing that the majority’s opinion “unjustifiably” departed from the Alaska Supreme Court’s prior approval of parental notification.

Stowers said the opinion “misapplies our equal protection case law by comparing two groups that are not similarly situated, and fails to consider how other states have handled similar questions related to parental notification laws.”

Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) officials praised the court’s ruling, saying that Alaska’s vulnerable teenagers will now be relieved of additional burdensome hurdles in accessing abortion care. Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, CRR, and Planned Parenthood represented plaintiffs in the case.

Janet Crepps, senior counsel at CRR, said in a statement that the “decision provides important protection to the safety and well-being of young women who need to end a pregnancy.”

“The reality is that some young women face desperate circumstances and potentially violent consequences if they are forced to bring their parents into their reproductive health decisions. This law would have deprived these vulnerable women of their constitutional rights and put them at risk of serious harm,” Crepps said.

CRR officials also noted that most young women seeking abortion care involve a parent, but some do not because they live an abusive or unsafe home.

The American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine have said minors’ access to confidential reproductive health services should be protected, according to CRR.

News Politics

Former Klan Leader on Senate Run: My Views Are Now the ‘GOP Mainstream’

Teddy Wilson

David Duke has been a fervent support of the Trump campaign, and has posted dozens of messages in support of Trump on Twitter. Duke has often used the hashtag #TrumpWasRight.

David Duke, convicted felon, white supremacist, and former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, announced Friday that he will run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, Roll Call reported.

Duke said that after a “great outpouring of overwhelming support,” he will campaign for the open Senate seat vacated by former Republican Sen. David Vitter, who lost a bid for Louisiana governor in a runoff election.

Duke’s announcement comes the day after Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination in the midst of growing tensions over race relations across the country. Trump has been criticized during the campaign for his rhetoric, which, his critics say, mainstreams white nationalism and provokes anxiety and fear among students of color.

His statements about crime and immigration, particularly about immigrants from Mexico and predominantly Muslim countries, have been interpreted by outlets such as the New York Times as speaking to some white supporters’ “deeper and more elaborate bigotry.”

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Duke said in his campaign announcement that he was the first candidate to promote the policy of “America first,” echoing a line from Trump’s nomination acceptance speech on Thursday night.

“The most important difference between our plan and that of our opponents, is that our plan will put America First,” Trump said Thursday night. “As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect.”

Duke said his platform has become “the GOP mainstream” and claimed credit for propelling Republicans to control of Congress in 2010. He said he is “overjoyed to see Donald Trump … embrace most of the issues I’ve championed for years.”

Trump in February declined to disavow the support of a white supremacist group and Duke, saying he knew “nothing about David Duke” and knew “nothing about white supremacists.” He later clarified that he rejected their support, and blamed his initial failure to disavow Duke on a “bad earpiece.”

Trump’s candidacy has also brought to light brought many incidents of anti-Semitism, much of which has been directed at journalists and commentators covering the presidential campaign.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wrote in the National Review that Trump’s nomination has “drawn anti-Semites from the woodwork,” and that the Republican nominee has been willing to “channel the support of anti-Semites to his own ends.”

Duke took to Twitter after Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday to express his support for the Republican nominee’s vision for America.

“Great Trump Speech, America First! Stop Wars! Defeat the Corrupt elites! Protect our Borders!, Fair Trade! Couldn’t have said it better!” Duke tweeted.

Duke has been a fervent Trump supporter, and has posted dozens of messages in support of Trump on Twitter. Duke has often used the hashtag #TrumpWasRight.

Duke was elected to the Louisiana house in 1989, serving one term. Duke was the Republican nominee for governor in 1991, and was defeated by Democrat Edwin Edwards.

Duke, who plead guilty in 2002 to mail fraud and tax fraud, has served a year in federal prison.