Scott Brown on Abortion

Republican Jr Senator


Calls himself pro-choice, but usually votes pro-life

Early on, our campaign team had taken a close look at Scott Brown's record on women's issues. It wasn't terrible. He said he was pro-choice, although he didn't turn down the support from the pro-life groups that endorsed him. When it came to women's issues, a fair assessment of Brown's voting record would be "pretty good some of the time"--but why should that be good enough?

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.

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.266&335 , Apr 22, 2014

OpEd: Not a reliable vote on abortion rights

At the gathering here, N.H. State Representative Daniel Tamburello said he liked Brown personally but hesitated when asked whether he would support him. "I'm a pretty strong pro-life guy, and that's usually a sticking point for me in the primaries," Rep. Tamburello said. When campaigning in Massachusetts, Brown said he favored abortion rights, although activists disputed the claim, saying his was not a reliable vote. Nonetheless, the perception here is that he supports abortion rights.
Source: New York Times on 2014 New Hampshire Senate race , Dec 11, 2013

I'm pro-choice but anti-Elena Kagan

Warren tried to portray Brown as unreliable on women's issues. Warren said she would not vote to support a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who opposes legal abortion. She criticized Brown for opposing the nomination of Elena Kagan to the court.

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.

Source: North Adams Transcript on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Sep 21, 2012

Birth control ok, but don't force churches to provide it

Warren pointed to a Brown vote in favor of a proposed amendment that would allow employers to deny insurance coverage for birth control. Brown said he supports women's access to birth control but was trying to protect the concerns of Roman Catholics.
Source: North Adams Transcript on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Sep 21, 2012

I'm a moderate pro-choice Republican & always have been

Warren raised questions about Brown's endorsement by "antichoice groups;" and his cosponsoring of the Blunt Amendment, which would allow health plans and employers to refuse to pay for contraception and other medical services if they have a religious or moral objection.

"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."

Source: Boston Globe on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Sep 20, 2012

2005: Conscience-based opt out of post-rape contraception

Coakley's campaign ad says Brown "favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims."

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."

Source: FactCheck "Bay State Battle": 2010 MA Senate debate AdWatch , Jan 13, 2010

Provide info about emergency contraception to rape victims

Brown voted for a 2005 amendment to deny emergency contraception to rape victims, but Coakley's ad [on that subject] doesn't mention that when the amendment failed, Brown voted for the underlying bill anyway.

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.

Source: FactCheck "Bay State Battle": 2010 MA Senate debate AdWatch , Jan 13, 2010

Support legalized abortion, but not partial-birth abortion

Brown pointed out that he and Coakley both support legalized abortion. "Yet we have a very real difference," Brown said, "and the difference is I'm against partial-birth abortion, you're not."

"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."

Source: WBUR article on 2010 MA Senate debate , Jan 12, 2010

Supported by right-to-life groups for stem cell stance

Brown picked up the support of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life in this race, based on his position on issues including abortion, stem cells, and federal health legislation. He also opposes federal funding for abortion, supports strong parental consent rules for minors, and supports the ban on what opponents call partial-birth abortion.

"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.

Source: Boston Globe on 2010 MA Senate debate , Jan 4, 2010

Authored bill for 24-hour waiting period for abortion

Brown has angered abortion-rights groups with acts like his cosponsorship of the Women's Right to Know Act, which would require a woman to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the developmental progress of her fetus.
Source: Boston Globe on 2010 MA Senate debate , Jan 4, 2010

Abortions should always be legally available

Source: 2002 MA Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 2002

Other candidates on Abortion: Scott Brown on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Bill Weld
Bob Massie
Charlie Baker
Dan Wolf
Deval Patrick
Don Berwick
Jay Gonzalez
Karyn Polito
Lawrence Lessig
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Richard Tisei
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
Warren Tolman
MA Senatorial:
Brian Herr
Bruce Skarin
Ed Markey
Elizabeth Warren
Gabriel Gomez
John Kerry
Martha Coakley
Mo Cowan

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