For Scott Walker, women will “clog up the legal system” if allowed to sue over pay discrimination, but men should be given the right to sue if a woman exercises control over her own body.
In 2012, Walker repealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which put teeth in the state’s anti- wage discrimination laws by allowing women to seek damages in state court. The law was opposed by business lobbies like the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, and by the state senator who drove the law’s repeal, now-Congressman Glenn Grothman, who said the gender wage gap can be explained because “money is more important for men.”
Even though no employer had been sued under the 2009 law, Walker justified its repeal by declaring that giving women the right to sue over pay discrimination would “clog up the legal system.”
As Walker’s 2014 opponent, Mary Burke, pilloried Walker for repealing the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, he responded with an ad claiming that his administration actually supports equal pay for men and women, but had taken a stand against creating new legal causes of action. The Walker administration simply doesn’t want to give people “more opportunities to sue,” the ad said.
Which makes Walker’s latest move all the more astounding.
Walker is planning to sign a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape and incest. Yet that same bill also creates “more opportunities to sue,” if you are a man, and disapprove of a woman’s choice to have an abortion.
The abortion bill has largely attracted attention for its extreme limits on a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, and for Walker’s bizarre claim that a woman who is a victim of rape or incest is only concerned about it “in the initial months of the pregnancy.” But the bill also contains a provision allowing a father to sue an abortion provider for “emotional and psychological distress” if he disagrees with a woman’s decision to end her own pregnancy after the 20 week period, regardless of whether he has a current relationship with the woman.
In other words, Scott Walker wants to bar a woman from bringing a lawsuit if she is the victim of pay discrimination. But he wants to allow a man to file suit if he disapproves of a woman’s healthcare decisions.