Scott Brown on Abortion
Republican Jr Senator
Pro-life groups that endorsed him: "We consider him a senator who votes prolife," said MA Citizens for Life. "We have to take his word for it when he says he is prochoice. But what we're looking for is someone who votes prolife, and he does." Brown said he would not reject the backing of MA Citizens for Life but reiterated that he considers himself a supporter of abortion rights.
Brown described himself as "pro-choice" and said he opposed Kagan because she didn't have enough courtroom experience for the high court. "Sorry I didn't vote for your boss," Brown said, referring to Kagan's tenure as dean of Harvard Law School.
"You should stop scaring women," Brown retorted. "I've been fighting for women for a long, long time," he said. "Listen, we're both pro-choice. I'm a moderate pro-choice Republican. I always have been."
It's true that in 2005, when the MA state Legislature was considering a bill to require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, Brown introduced an amendment that would have let doctors and nurses opt out based on "a sincerely held religious belief" and refer patients elsewhere. It was similar to "conscience" provisions in federal legislation that would avoid forcing Catholic hospitals to provide abortion or contraception against the teachings of the church. Here's the language:
Brown amendment, Apr. 2005: "Nothing in this section shall impose any requirements upon any employee, physician or nurse of any facility t the extent that administering the contraception conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief. Said treating facility shall have in place a validated referral procedure policy for referring patients for administration of the emergency contraception."
The most misleading part of the ad, though is not what the narrator says, but what appears on screen. As the contraception amendment is mentioned, viewers see the words, "Deny rape victims care." Emergency contraception is certainly a type of care. But the language on screen implies that Brown would support denial of even, say, treatment of injuries sustained in a rape.
That's far from the truth. The bill required that rape victims be provided with accurate information about emergency contraception and that they be offered it. Brown voted for the bill after unsuccessfully trying to carve out a religion exception. And there is nothing in the record that we are aware of to suggest that Brown ever supported denying any other type of care to victims of sexual assault.
"That's not right," Coakley shot back.
"Martha", Brown said, "with all due respect, you wrote an editorial that anyone can go online and find where you actually criticized partial-birth abortion, the fact that it's in fact not allowed. And we also have have a difference in that I don't believe that federal funding of abortion should be allowed, and I believe in a very strong parental consent notification law."
In a 2007 op-ed article in the Quincy Patriot-Ledger, Coakley called a Supreme Court decision upholding a ban on late-term abortions "tragic."
"We're behind him,'' said John Rowe, chairman of the group's federal political action committee. "The pro-life vote is very important at this point. It can make a big difference.'' The group did not support Brown in 2004, when, during his campaign for state Senate, he noted his support for Roe v. Wade. But Rowe said he believes that Brown's position has evolved. "We always welcome people coming over to our side,'' he said. Brown issued a statement through a spokesman: "While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America,'' he said.
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