Thursday, January 14, 2010
Abortion takes stage in Senate race
Coakley’s ad, released Monday night, accuses Brown of resisting tougher Wall Street oversight and favoring Bush-era tax cuts that favored the wealthy. [....]

Coakley, who is trying to become the first female US senator from Massachusetts, has made women’s issues a strong component of her campaign. Yesterday morning, she had five surrogates hold a press conference at the headquarters of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus. Coakley, however, was not at the event.

“He seeks to erode our reproductive rights,’’ said Christina Knowles, state director for the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women.

The 2005 amendment that Brown sponsored in the state Senate would have allowed a physician, nurse, or any other employee to deny rape victims an emergency contraceptive if it “conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief.’’ The facility would have had to have someone else who could administer the contraceptive or refer the victim to another facility at no additional cost to the patient.

The amendment, which did not pass, was attached to a bill that he ultimately voted for, which required emergency rooms to provide the contraceptives to rape victims.

In Coakley’s latest ad, a narrator says, “Brown even favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims.’’

Brown and his supporters have declined to discuss the underpinnings of his amendment, instead trying to focus on the fact that he supported the overall legislation. He also voted to override a veto by Governor Mitt Romney.

“This is the message: the message is that Scott Brown was behind that legislation and voted for it in 2005,’’ Angela Davis, cochairwoman of Women for Brown, said yesterday.

Brown has also declined to discuss his amendment proposal.

“It’s irrelevant; it’s a red herring,’’ he told reporters after Monday night’s debate, as an aide cut off further questions.

On WCVB-TV last night, he said he could not recall whether he had actually filed that amendment, although Senate records clearly say he did.

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