Is a politician waging a “War on Women” when he’s just named a woman to be the next agricultural secretary of “America’s Dairyland?”
That’s the exact charge Milwaukee area businessman Andy Gronik is making in a recent fund raising email.
In the email, Gronik’s campaign puts out charges against Walker meant to hit the nerves of abortion activists, tort attorneys, and those completely ignorant of Wisconsin’s equal pay laws. The email states Walker “led the charge to repeal a law that required equal pay regardless of gender,’ ‘added unnecessary and intrusive restrictions’ for abortion providers and ‘defunded Planned Parenthood leaving women without access to health services.’
Each of these charges are either old, or a left-wing talking point against Walker which has failed in the past. The one about Wisconsin’s equal protection law dates back to 2012 and was used against Walker in both the 2012 recall and 2014 elections.
Here’s what PoliticFACT Wisconsin wrote about the charge when it analyzed the claim as made by Mary Burke’s campaign in 2014:
But Wisconsin has a longstanding law by another name, the state Fair Employment Act, which explicitly prohibits gender-based employment discrimination “in promotion (and) compensation paid for equal or substantially similar work.”
Attorneys on both sides of discrimination cases told us the state’s Fair Employment Act allows people who believe they’ve faced pay discrimination to seek back wages and legal fees from their employers through a state administrative hearing process.
So what was the 2009 law passed by Democrats then in full control of the Capitol?
That legislation, approved by then-Gov. Jim Doyle, sought to expand the state penalties employers could face if found guilty of discrimination against women and other protected groups on pay or other employment issues.
Democrats, women’s professional groups and plaintiff’s lawyers had argued that the Fair Employment law needed more teeth (while Republican opponents said businesses would see more frivolous lawsuits).
So the 2009 bill allowed persons to sue in court — and get compensatory and punitive damages — after they had exhausted their administrative cases in the state Department of Workforce Development.
But that 2009 law — the one repealed in 2012 by Walker and Republicans — was a fairly narrow one focused on tougher enforcement of existing protections for women and other groups.
It did not establish a new set of equal-pay protections — those already were in the Fair Employment law, where they have been since 1982 and where they remained even after the 2012 repeal.
PolitiFACT Wisconsin gave Burke’s claim a rating of “False.”
As for the charges against abortion, those are two separate ones tied to two separate laws. The first required that all abortion clinics in Wisconsin must have on staff a medical doctor who has privileges (i.e. the ability to admit patients) at a nearby hospital.
The 2015 law was similar to one pass in 2013 in Texas; which ended up being negated by the U.S. Supreme Court in a June 2106 decision by a 5-3 majority. As a result, Wisconsin’s law is up in legal limbo and may end up never being enacted.
Finally, if Gronik’s so upset about the state giving taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, they sure chose a poor time to lament its finances. Last month, the nation’s largest abortion provider announced the opening of a new $8 million clinic in Milwaukee.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will open a new health clinic in Milwaukee early next week. The new $8 million facility will provide cancer screenings, birth control, treatment and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, as well as abortion services.
Two of Planned Parenthood’s clinics now offer access to abortion services, one is in Madison and the other is in Milwaukee. The new clinic at 435 S. Water Street replaces patient care at Milwaukee’s Jackson Street location, which will be used as administrative offices instead.
Looks like Planned Parenthood’s doing quite fine in Wisconsin without taxpayer assistance. Which raises the question that if a Gronik supporter had concerns about the organization’s fiscal health, why not cut out the middle man and give to Planned Parenthood directly?
Of course, that’s not the purpose of Gronik’s email. It’s meant to inflame feelings of liberal feminists who feel the Walker years have been a setback for their agenda. That’s fine politically, but it’s a compete bastardization of the truth.
Is Walker waging a “War on Women” when his Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, is a woman? Or when roughly a third of his Cabinet agencies are headed by women? Hardly. Gronik is using the term because it’s part of the Democratic political playbook to throw around whenever they want.
Guess when you’re dealing with a potential crowd of 16 Democratic candidates you’ve got to find ways to stand out; even the predictable ones. Alec Zimmerman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin responded to the Gronik email, saying: “Once again, Andy Gronik is trying to mislead voters and distract from his own record as a con artist and shady businessman. All Gronik has to prop up his fledgling campaign is recycled and discredited liberal talking points that voters can see right through.”