The Story of Pirro & Why Choice Matters’ Questionnaire Matters
Did you know that Jeanine Pirro – presently the Fox News commentator, Trumper & star of Justice with Judge Jeanine- was endorsed by ALL the national and NY statewide pro-choice advocacy groups which helped her win 3 terms as Westchester County District Attorney???
And did you know it was WCLA – Choice Matters’ REQUIREMENT that ALL candidates – incumbents AND challengers – submit completed questionnaires in each election cycle that made it possible forWCLA – Choice Matters to expose Pirro’s change in position???
In 2001, Pirro’s 3rd race for Westchester DA, we rated her Anti-Choice for the first time as a direct result of the changes in her questionnaire. Unfortunately, other organizations did not reexamine her positions until 2005. The excitement over having the first woman serve as Westchester County DA had created a buzz that basically permitted many to give Pirro a pass as the incumbent, and allowed her to label herself “pro-choice” when, in fact, her position had changed.
Since our formation 47 years ago, WCLA – Choice Matters has made our policy perfectly clear to every candidate: submit a questionnaire or you will be rated “Anti-Choice”. No “if’s” “and’s” or “but’s”. The same is true for judicial candidate interviews. NO exceptions. We also go out of our way, often having to reach out numerous times to candidates, to remind them of the due date so that their questionnaires are submitted timely, and stating clearly that if one is not submitted, they will be rated as Anti-Choice. To reiterate, that is not a threat; it has always been our official policy.
Why are we so strict? Because candidates and issues change.
- It stops anti-choice candidates from avoiding the issue;
- It educates previously endorsed candidates on the many changes and challenges that have sprung up front-and-center since the last election, like the 20-week abortion ban, the RHA, and the “heartbeat” bills; and
- It exposes those candidates who have changed their position on Choice but don’t want to tell you.
Our questionnaires are our contract with the candidate and we treat it exactly that way. It isn’t enough to say “I’m pro-choice”. Incumbents receive the same scrutiny as challengers by WCLA – Choice Matters.
We hold EVERY SINGLE candidate to the same standard, regardless of gender, party affiliation, or any other way one might identify. NO EXCEPTIONS.
And we will continue this practice, even when facing threats from candidates and/or elected officials, because it is the only way to protect CHOICE. Just remember Jeanine.