In a Hawaii Public Radio debate with Mazie Hirono last Wednesday, U.S. senate candidate Ed Case said that women’s organizations gave him 100 percent approval ratings when he represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District from 2002 to 2007.

“I’m ranked by women’s organizations 100 percent for my record in Congress — 100 percent,” Case said. “Now, I’m sure they wouldn’t have ranked me that way if I had in fact believed and advocated for defunding Planned Parenthood or defunding women’s mammograms or any number of other issues that are particularly important to women.”

The former congressman, who served from November 2002 to January 2007, was responding to accusations from Hirono that he voted in support of Republican bills that would’ve cut back federal funding for women’s health services. In particular, she accused him of voting in 2005 to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive and maternal healthcare and lobbies for pro-choice legislation.

Case argued that Hirono was “cherry picking” from the 2,300 votes he took as a House member. The implication of the 100 percent approval ratings from organizations like Planned Parenthood is that he’s always been on their side, despite any unfavorable legislative compromises he’s had to make.

But did women’s organizations, including Planned Parenthood, really give him 100 percent approval scores throughout his years in Congress?

Sarah Kaopuiki, the state coordinator for Case’s campaign, directed Civil Beat to Project Vote Smart. The longtime voter watchdog organization compiles the ratings that various special interest groups have given past and current legislators.

Project Vote Smart looks at voting records and bill sponsorship to determine whether officials shared their positions on key legislation. The scores indicate how much the groups would endorse the legislators and are meant to be a guide for voters.

For Case, Project Vote Smart lists a handful of groups that advocate for women. Some fall under the abortion category. Others fall under the more general “women’s issues” heading.

The Project doesn’t list what Planned Parenthood thought of Case for most of the years he was in office. But it does show that the organization gave him 100 percent ratings in 2003 and in 2006 — the year after Case voted in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He was the sole Democrat to do so.

The table also shows that NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Case a 100 percent approval rating in 2003, 2004 and 2005, as did the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) for his first two years in Congress.

Voter Information Services, an organization similar to Project Vote Smart, lists Case’s approval ratings from several additional special interest groups representing women’s issues. Case’s congressional report card details votes that influenced groups’ ratings.

The Population Connection, which advocates women’s reproductive rights, rated Case at 25 percent in 2004 and 29 percent in 2006. According to his report card, Case voted against a number of bills that the Population Connection supported, including the Prevention First, Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals and Responsible Education About Life acts of 2005.

But Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice America, NFPRHA and the Population Connection don’t necessarily represent other issues specific to women.

Case’s Record on ‘Women’s Issues’

Project Vote Smart charts Case’s approval ratings from four special interest groups advocating women’s issues. Only one gave Case a 100 percent rating.

That group was the National Organization for Women in 2005.

Federally Employed Women, a nonprofit working to improve the status of women employed by the federal government, gave Case 80 percent approval ratings for the years 2003 and 2004. The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce gave him a 50 percent score in 2004.

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, an organization that conducts research on working women and partners with employers to promote gender diversity in the workplace, rated Case 57 percent in 2003 and 54 percent in 2004. (Case lost approval from the foundation largely because he voted against the Child Credit Preservation and Expansion Act, which would’ve repealed scheduled reductions to the child tax credit allocated for low-income women, according to Voter Information Services.)

Voter Information Services also shows that the American Association of University Women gave Case 100 percent approval in 2003 but rated him at 83 percent in 2005 and 75 percent in 2006. His grade with them slipped after he supported a 2006 federal minimum wage bill that in many cases would’ve actually cut the pay of many people working for tips, the majority of whom are women, according to his report card.

BOTTOM LINE: Three pro-choice organizations gave Case 100 percent approval for many of the years he was in office. One pro-choice group gave him low ratings in 2004 and 2006. But Case said “women’s organizations” — not just pro-choice groups. One women’s organization gave Case a 100 percent rating in 2005. But all the others didn’t think so highly of him. Civil Beat finds Case’s statement to be HALF TRUE.

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