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How Pro-Choice is Scott Brown?

Friday, August 24, 2012


Senator Scott Brown has billed himself as a pro-choice Republican on the campaign trail, but groups on both sides of the debate seem to indicate that his position isn't so black and white.

During the 2010 special election, when Brown was up against Democratic challenger Martha Coakley for the late Ted Kennedy's seat, the pro-life group Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL) endorsed his candidacy.

Pro-Life Group Says Brown's Pro-Choice

This time around, MCFL is withholding its endorsement of Senator Brown.

"We don't endorse a candidate who isn't pro-life," said the group's president Anne Fox.

"He says he's pro-choice and he is."

But the lack of an official endorsement does not mean MCFL will not recommend that its supporters vote for Brown, who Fox said has voted with MCFL on the bills the group feels are important.

Fox noted that Brown has opposed federal funding for abortions, partial-birth abortions and federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

"Those are the things that we were looking for him to vote with us on," she said.

"We just look at the voting record, and he votes with us."

Pro-Choice Group Says He's Not With Them

Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, agrees with Fox's assessment of Brown's voting record.

"While Scott Brown calls himself pro-choice, in reality he voted pro-choice just once out of the five times issues of choice came to a vote on the Senate floor," Amundson said.

"One pro-choice vote out of five doesn’t make Scott Brown a trust-worthy defender of women’s right and access to full health care coverage."

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which is distinct from the Massachusetts group, has endorsed Elizabeth Warren in this year's Senate race, Amundson said. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts does not have a federal PAC.

Votes Paint More Nuanced Picture

Brown has previously stated his support for Roe vs. Wade and took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus calling for the party to adopt a more open stance on abortion.

He also went against the party line last year when he joined Democrats in opposing efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

However, Brown supported and co-sponsored the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage for employees based on their religious beliefs.


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