Note: This piece was updated at 12 p.m. to provide a quote from EMILY’s List
Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is proving that you really can have your cake and eat it, too. In the wake of the public backlash against the GOP’s misogynistic “embryos over women” platform, Brown has begun to vocalize his support for a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
You would think that would be enough to cause anti-choice groups to stop supporting him in his race. You would be wrong. According to the Boston Globe, Massachusetts Citizens Concerned for Life has reiterated that they will continue to support the senator in his tight race against Democrat Elizabeth Warren because he may claim to be pro-choice, but he’s a reliable vote against reproductive health and rights anyway.
“We consider him a senator who votes prolife,” said Anne Fox, president of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, told the Boston Globe. “We have to take his word for it when he says he is pro-choice. But what we’re looking for is someone who votes prolife, and he does.”
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Brown says that going forward, he pledges to “never vote in the Senate to curb women’s reproductive rights,” and that he already has a long record on that issue.
He does have a long record, and very mixed. But since he was elected senator, his loyalties to the party has obviously trumped his alleged support of reproductive rights. In his first year in the senate he had a 100 percent rating with the National Right To Life Committee and 0 percent with NARAL Pro-Choice America. His later votes were slightly more mixed but still earned him a 75 percent rating with the NRLC, while his numbers with pro-choice groups never made it above 45 percent.
Brown told ABC in an interview soon after his election that:
Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, but I think we need to do more to reduce the amount of abortions. And the difference between me and maybe others is that I’m very — I’m against partial-birth abortions. I’m against federal funding of abortions. And I believe in a strong parental consent notification law.
And we should do more for adoptions.
Yet his votes against health care reform and the birth control benefit (ensuring that insurance plans cover contraception without a co-pay), as well as to allow “religious” employers to be able to refuse to provide birth control coverage calls into question exactly how committed his really is to “reducing” abortion. He put the “conscience” of religious groups ahead of women’s health when he supported the Blunt Amendment, saying “This isn’t a political issue. This is about freedom to practice your religion without government interference. It’s about what makes us Americans.”
Brown also voted four out of five times with the National Right to Life position on their key votes, leaving their fold only when it came to defunding Planned Parenthood.
“This is so disrespectful to Massachusetts voters,” said EMILY’s List spokeswoman Jess McIntosh. “He’s actually claiming to be pro-choice despite a voting record so anti-choice that conservative leaders support him. Frankly, women are smarter than that. And this kind of dishonesty is just one of the many reasons they’ll turn out for Elizabeth Warren in November.”
It’s one thing to say you support a woman’s right to choose. But when the same groups who are pushing the GOP to the extreme when it comes to curbing a woman’s right to bodily autonomy say that they consider him a “prolife” vote, that’s a sure sign that actions mean more than words.