WBUR

Sen. Brown Criticizes GOP Platform’s Abortion Stance

BOSTON — In another step to distance himself from his party, Massachusetts Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is asking GOP leaders to be more inclusive on the issue of abortion.

In a letter released Tuesday, Brown asks Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, to drop the anti-abortion plank in the party platform.

“If we are to grow and succeed in all parts of this great nation, we must be a ‘big-tent’ party,” Brown wrote. “There are people of goodwill on both sides of the abortion issue, and we need to send a message to voters that there is room in the Republican Party for differing perspectives.”

Brown released the letter just as news broke that for the first time in months Brown leads his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren. A Public Policy Polling survey found that Brown is leading Warren by five points. Pollster Tom Jensen says it’s the first time in 14 months that Brown has had the lead.

“It is getting to the point where there is pretty clearly some momentum going in Brown’s direction,” Jensen said. “The last poll was a tie, but the one before that, Warren was up by five points. So over the last five months, you’ve seen Brown gain 10 points, which is definitely pretty meaningful.”

But Jensen found something that could be a concern for Brown: Most Massachusetts voters want Democrats to retain their majority in the Senate.

“I think that Warren’s path to victory is really making the strong argument that she is needed in order for Democrats to keep control of the Senate,” Jensen said. “That if Warren is not elected, that these really extremist Republicans — who aren’t like Scott Brown — are going to end up with the majority.”

And so Tuesday, Warren tried to tie Brown’s position on issues affecting women to the rest of his party.

“And Scott Brown can’t have it both ways,” Warren said. “Remember, Scott Brown got on this train when he voted against equal pay for equal work, when he decided to become a co-sponsor of an amendment that would deny women access to birth control, and when he stood up and said: ‘Yay, Mitt Romney!’, who said he was going to get rid of Planned Parenthood, and ‘Yay, Paul Ryan!’, who’s out there on a bill wanting to redefine rape.”

Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate, is co-sponsor of a bill that would prohibit funding abortions with federal money except in cases of “forcible” rape. Critics protested that “forcible” rape might not include women who are drunk or drugged when raped, who are mentally handicapped and coerced, or who are victims of statutory rape. The word “forcible” was dropped before the bill passed the House. The Senate has not voted on it.

Brown continually resists Warren’s attempts to tie him to the national Republican Party on women’s issues.

“Well, I think someone should remind Professor Warren that she’s running against me, and not against Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan,” Brown said. “And if she wanted to run against Mitt Romney, she should have been in the primary against the president. So I think she’s running in the wrong race.

“That being said, I live in a house full of women. As you know, I’m pro-choice.”

Brown did want to allow religious institutions to opt out of offering birth control through their health insurance plans. Like other Republican senators, such as Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine, Brown opposed a bill mandating equal pay, calling it “the right cause,” but saying it would put too many burdens on employers.

Women are the one group with which Warren still has a lead. Among women, Warren leads Brown by nine points in the Public Policy Polling survey.

The poll was conducted before Monday, when Brown asked Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of his Senate race after Akin had said in cases of “legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Brown led his party in calling on Akin to end his campaign.

Peter Ubertaccio, chairman of the political science department at Stonehill College, calls it a very smart move on Brown’s part.

“He got ahead of the Democratic critique and the Democratic tactic, which is to try to link any New England Republican with the national party,” Ubertaccio said.

Ubertaccio says if Brown is to pull out a victory, it is because people do not associate him with the more conservative elements of the national Republican Party. Because the poll was conducted over the weekend, it’s too early to say how Brown’s call on Akin to drop out or his call to drop the party’s anti-abortion platform will play among Massachusetts voters.

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  • http://www.savagevenus.net/ Flitzy

    Future former Senator Brown is feeling the heat from Future Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. 

    Also, it doesn’t hold water since he’s criticizing Akin yet supporting Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, who have the SAME EXACT opinion.

    I really don’t believe the people of Massachusetts are dumb enough to pick Brown, right? Then again, they did pick Romney for Governor… sigh.

  • Guest

    He didn’t ‘distance’ himself when he ran on their ticket two years ago. He’s only doing it now because he was down in the polls. Now he says he doesn’t agree with the GoP stance on women’s issues. Funny thing is, his votes do not reflect that. 

  • Dave Seaman

    I am a rape victim. I never pressed charges because  rape isw a poliotical crime and when I was raped I was a ten year old boy. It wasn;’t until six months ago that President Obama changed the rape ;laws to inc;lude men.

    I am a feminist and was before I was a male rape victim.

    I am offended that people who don’t approove of abortion have named themselves “Pro-Life”. This has several implicvations: !) The opposing side is “pro-Death” 2) The same people who are anti-abortion and statistically by 83% are pro=capoital punishment wish to be called pro-life 3) That to insist that a woman must carry a baby to term in an overpopulated world while members of the GOP are attempting to limit birth control (and in some cases, outlawing all birth control) so that all of these things are anti-women. For those women who don’t know this, who don’t yet REALIZE that these movements are all going to disallow them control over their lives, I am sad. (If I were a woman under these conditions I would deny sex- they should all, as a unified force, deny sex and continue to until the men who control them politically are finally willing to listen. Withold sex,  you say with incredulousty? How archaic! What games!
    Well dominating women is even more archaic and as far as games are concerned, it isn;t a game in this case: it’s politics using the most powerful tool at their disposal.

    This must be applied to the Constitution and I hate to sound like a drone but just WHEN are we -planning t0 pass the ERA?

    Forgive the typos; I have GBS and am almost blind.

  • J__o__h__n

    Claiming to be a “Scott Brown Republican” doesn’t matter when he votes to elect Mitch McConnell to be Senate Minority Leader. 

  • J__o__h__n

    The story should have mentioned how effective Scott Brown is regarding changing his party’s conservative social views.  Did Brown’s call for Akin to drop out of the race result in him stepping down?  Did Brown’s writing a letter change the platform calling to ban abortion even for rape victims? 

    • http://www.wbur.org/people/fthys Fred Thys

      Scott Brown’s call to Akin to drop out did lead to the National Republican Senatorial Committee to announce it would not sponsor Akin, and, ultimately, to Mitt Romney’s call to Akin to drop out.

      Brown said this morning that it’s his first opportunity to get involved in the national platform, and he’s eager to follow up and see what happens. 

      • J__o__h__n

        Akin is still in the race.  Did the NRSC and Romney state they were following Brown or was he just first.

        We know what will happen.  It is the same platform they have had for years.  It is the same platform they will have in 2016.  Any evidence Brown did anything to try to change it before the issue became toxic yesterday? 

        If results matter, Scott Brown has not been effective in the two instances I raised. 

  • Frank

    Here is the real irony, if Scott Brown wins, it empowers the Senate to become Republican lead, and thus can fill the supreme court with people like Scalia, Alito, Thomas and others who will kill any rights for women.  The only way a vote for Scott Brown that would help women would be if quit the Senate or changes to a Democrat.  Folks in Mass think that he is this great moderate and can bridge divides…he cannot, and just his mere Republican label makes womens rights in the hands of Mitch McConnell…I cannot think of a more damaging scenario for our womens rights to health care.  I really wish Warren would step and state this issue asap and make it part of her fight…

  • Estengel10

    I predict that if Brown is re-elected, and GOP actually gets repeal of the Affordable Care Act to the Senate and it’s up for a vote, Brown will vote to repeal, which will also repeal many important provisions for women’s health.  Warren should be talking about this too.

  • jack_foobar

    Our Country is circling the drain, and we’re talking about 6 degree’s of Kevin Bacon’s aborted fetus.  This is why the Tea Party kicked Brown in the nuts a week after he was elected.  He can’t stay on target.

  • marjoriemelkin

    Wow…what world are you people living in?  Watching MSNBC is harmful to critical thinking!

    • Frank

      yeah so it Fox! but the points are all valid.  Argue the points and dont attack the person please…!

  • http://twitter.com/PolopersonGwen Po’sMom

    Brown’s position on issues affecting women, is completely in line with the rest of his party.“And Scott Brown can’t have it both ways,” Warren said. “Remember, Scott Brown got on this train when he voted against equal pay for equal work, when he decided to become a co-sponsor of an amendment that would deny women access to birth control, and when he stood up and said: ‘Yay, Mitt Romney!’, who said he was going to get rid of Planned Parenthood, and ‘Yay, Paul Ryan!’, who’s out there on a bill wanting to redefine rape.”

  • NAV from Sutton

    Its amazing how now, before the election, he is trying to show himself as being an independent, but really, check his record.  And don’t be fooled.  On almost every issue, he has sided with the Republicans.   You have to read this to see where he really stands:

    http://articles.boston.com/2012-05-07/nation/31598580_1_brown-vote-senate-votes-single-vote

  • Sinclair

    Remember when Scott Brown was gay bashing State Senator Cheryl Jacques when he ran against her?  She had a female partner and he publicly called her “wierd” among other nasty comments.  He’s a transparent opportunist who lives his life in front of cameras and talk radio, and like Mitt Romney, he’ll say anything to get elected. 

    He was on the fence with “don’t ask - don’t tell while representing Massachusetts, a state where same sex marriege is legal.  He does not represent us as a state.  He represents special interests only.

    Before he became a senator, he worked part-time as a real estate lawyer passing papers at closings.  He also supplimented his income through his two-day per month National Guard “drills” and “part-time” position as a state senator.   

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