Is Gingrich the Worst Candidate for Women?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Dec. 28 2011 4:47 PM

Is Gingrich the Worst Candidate for Women?

Newt Gingrich speaks to reporters in Iowa

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The liberal political organization* Emily's List ranked the 2012 GOP candidates according to their records and positions on women's issues from abortion rights to workplace fairness. I thought that Michele Bachmann, who says the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation, or Rick Santorum, who said that our Social Security woes stem from legalized abortion, would be declared the worst for women. But no: Our old friend Newt Gingrich has the most strikes against him when it comes to voting against policies that might benefit women.

I figured Gingrich wasn't the worst mostly because he's one of the more liberal of the GOP candidates when it comes to abortion—he belieives that it should be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. (Many Iowa evangelicals disagree with these exceptions.) However, it turns out that the policy behind his abortion ideals is ultra-radical. Michelle Goldberg at the Daily Beast explains:


In response to a question about how [Gingrich] would respond to a Supreme Court ruling against a personhood law, he insisted that the legislative and executive branches can “rebalance the judiciary.” He referred listeners to a paper on his website (PDF) which, among other things, suggests that Congress abolish uncooperative courts and judgeships, and argues that in certain rare cases, “the executive branch might choose to ignore a Court decision.” Rather than overturn Roe v. Wade, he proposes to overturn the entire system of judicial review.

Our own Dahlia Lithwick has already taken down Gingrich's looney tunes ideas about the judiciary here. But back to his record on women's issues: Gingrich voted against the family and medical leave bill, hates Planned Parenthood, and voted anti-choice almost 100 percent of the time. According to Emily's List, Rick Perry, who recently veered right when it comes to abortion (he now thinks abortion should be outlawed in all circumstances, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother), has the most positive record when it comes to women. It's a tallest midget contest for sure when Rick "Oops" Perry is a woman's best bet.

Clarification, Dec. 28, 2011: The original version of this post referred to Emily's List as a nonprofit.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.