Pro-Abortion Group Criticized for Excluding Men at "Women Only" Event

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 1, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Group Criticized for Excluding Men at "Women Only" Event

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 1, 2004

Boston, MA ( — A leading pro-abortion group is under fire for preventing men — including male news reporters — from attending an official event.

During the Democratic convention last week, Emily’s List, a top pro-abortion political group that provides campaign cash for pro-abortion female candidates, held a women-only policy breakfast. Men need not apply.

David Postman, chief political writer for the Seattle Times newspaper asked the group about the event.

Ramona Oliver, Emily’s List’s communications director, told Postman that it was "just a chance for a little girl bonding."

Oliver told Postman that, as a reporter, he probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to the event had it not been a women-only affair.

"Is this all a ploy to win press coverage," Postman wrote in a column afterwards.

Matt Labash, a reporter for the Weekly Standard, took the event one step further. He asked a female associate to register him for the Emily’s List event using only the initial of his first name.

Confirming the reservation to attend over the phone, Oliver told Labash’s associate, "I love your work."

However, upon arriving, Oliver sang a different tune.

"[B]efore I could gain entry, [Oliver] grabbed me by the shoulder, allowing her hand to trace the cut of my suit lapel. She told me that she hadn’t been on a date in a while,
but that I was a handsome man," Labash wrote about the encounter.

"[T]he point of treating me like a piece of meat, it turns out, was to say my kind wasn’t welcome at this breakfast," Labash explained.

"I smugly told her that I was on her list, she might want to check. She did. I had been scrubbed off. Rumors of my manhood had clearly preceded me," Labash added.

While Labash took the discrimination in stride, others are concerned at the appearance of hypocrisy such an event could create.

Sally Lehrman a diversity advocate from the Society of Professional Journalists complained about the Emily’s List event to the Times’ Postman.

"I don’t think the solution in turn is to shut men out," she said. "This sort of thing could create the backlash we worry about."

Emily’s List has never sponsored a women-only event before. Their hope is that, by prohibiting men from attending and making it an off-the-record event, women reporters will have a chance to develop relationships with the pro-abortion politicians and candidates the group supports.

"It’s just an opportunity to bring these women together, just like every other group, race, creed and political bent have their events," Oliver told the Times.