Abortion flap puts Brown-Warren in national spotlight
In Massachusetts, it’s never about a single issue, although it seems the economy had been dominating all the talk in the US Senate race.
But with the cacophony generated by US Rep. (and Worcester Polytechnic Institute alumnus) Todd Akin’s skull-scratching screed on female biology, the spotlight on social issues has increased significantly. And, quite naturally, a nation turns its lonely eyes to the Brown-Warren race.
Sen. Scott Brown was leading the GOP pack to chase Akin out of his own race for the Senate in Missouri while taking the opportunity to call on the national party to once again embrace the “Big Tent” concept of allowing differing views on social issues. And he also used the platform to tout his own bipartisanship as well as his “pro-choice” stance.
While that’s playing well around the country, those who’ve seen Brown in action over the years are wondering just what he means by “pro-choice.” Brown has a spotty record from his time in the Legislature, sponsoring a “conscientious objector” bill that would allow health professionals who are morally opposed to abortion to refuse to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
Brown also has sponsored amendments requiring parental notification and opposes federal funding for abortions, all stances that many abortion rights advocates say do not comport with a “pro-choice” platform. In the special election in 2010, Brown got the support of a number of anti-abortion and right-wing groups, including Massachusetts Citizens for Life, endorsements he never rejected though certainly none that he is now touting.
Brown’s nimble response may be why Elizabeth Warren has yet to take full advantage of the issue. Here’s a Time story explaining why Warren needs to nationalize the Senate race in the wake of the Akin furor. Some are positing that the eruption could have an impact on the balance of the Senate, which the GOP had confidence it could win, come November.
Warren’s camp is touting her gender agenda and tying Brown to the “Romney-Ryan-Akin” ticket and the GOP platform that is seeking a total ban on abortions with no exception. But Warren hasn’t gone after Brown’s past votes and stances on abortion issues. Maybe it’s early or maybe she’ll use the debates to make her case. Or maybe she thinks it won’t stick.
But Brown, who shares advisors with Mitt Romney, is trying to steer clear of the controversy while at the same time holding himself out as a “Scott Brown Republican.” Brown is only planning to attend one day of the Republican National Convention next week and while there, keep a very, very low profile.
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