Guest MINDSETTER™ Hannah Yore: On Women’s Issues, Brown is All Talk
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Women’s issues have received a lot of attention in the Massachusetts Senate race, and rightly so. I am particularly troubled by Senator Scott Brown’s voting record on issues of reproductive health and other vital concerns of women in Massachusetts.
Brown dismisses reproductive health as a special interest concern rather than a basic economic issue for young women. He fails to take into account that it is impossible for young women like me to finish school and begin our careers if we don’t have access to basic health care like contraception. Unplanned pregnancies have the potential to derail our entire futures
Nearly half of the pregnancies in United States are unplanned and more than one-third of unplanned pregnancies are in unmarried women in their 20s. According to a recent study by the Brookings Institute, a major contributing factor to high rates of unintended pregnancies is the cost of contraception. The study notes that the most effective forms of contraception are prohibitively expensive or inaccessible to many women.
Affordable access to birth control is just one reason that Senator Brown’s recent vote in favor of the Blunt Amendment exemplifies his failure to understand my concerns and the concerns of many women. As a cosponsor of this bill, he voted to allow employers to deny women basic health care services, including birth control if they deemed it to be immoral. As a young woman constantly thinking about my own future, the idea of entering a workforce environment that is hostile to my needs, concerns and basic rights is terrifying. Like so many others thinking about their future, I refuse to be represented in Washington by someone who undermines women in the workforce.
The Blunt Amendment also targeted many basic anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act and would have allowed employers to refuse coverage for HIV/AIDS screenings, mammograms, children’s vaccinations, and prenatal care for single mothers. Scott Brown, along with other conservative politicians, claimed that this is an issue of the employer’s religious and personal freedom. But, in doing that, they fail to acknowledge the needs and rights of women. The truth is allowing employers to refuse healthcare coverage to a certain group of individuals is discrimination.
On the campaign trail and in his TV ads, Senator Brown talks a lot about his support for women. He even talks about how he is a so-called pro-choice Republican. But there’s one thing Brown doesn’t like to talk about: his voting record on issues of choice.
He doesn’t like to talk about his vote for an anti-woman budget bill that eliminated the federal family planning program, defunded Planned Parenthood, and re-imposed an abortion ban on the women of the District of Columbia. He doesn’t want to talk about his vote for the Blunt amendment, and he surely doesn’t want to talk about how, since he took office, he voted pro-choice only once out of five times that a choice-related vote came to the Senate floor.
Senator Brown too often refuses to talk about his votes because they don’t fit with his self-proclaimed image of a defender of women’s rights, but women should know the truth about Brown’s record when it comes to choice.
One pro-choice vote out of five doesn’t make you a trustworthy defender of women’s rights, and it doesn’t assure me that you have my back in Washington. We need a senator who votes pro-choice five out of five and truly helps keeps women’s rights alive.
Hannah Yore is a student at Clark University and a member of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.
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