Feb. 23, 2012
BOSTON — Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren are squaring off over politically charged questions about religion, government and contraception. On Thursday, they released dueling radio ads on the issue.
Warren argues in her ad that an amendment backed by Brown would threaten women’s access to contraception, mammograms and even maternity care:
A few days ago, I watched a Congressional hearing about birth control, where the panel of experts did not include even one woman. Wow. Washington really doesn’t get it. Now the Senate is about to vote on a new law proposed by Republicans that allows your employer or insurance company to claim a vague moral conviction to deny you contraception or any health care coverage they want.
Brown is indeed cosponsoring a measure that would allow insurers and employers to deny health coverage for birth control and other medical services they say violates their moral or religious beliefs. Brown explains his reasoning in his new ad.
Religious freedom has been one of our most precious rights. It's what brought the Pilgrims to our shores hundreds of years ago so they could freely practice their faith. That’s why I’m concerned about a new federal mandate forcing religious organizations to offer insurance coverage for practices that go against the teachings of their church. Such a requirement flies in the face of our basic values of religious tolerance.
Some political analysts say Brown’s position could cost him women's votes. But Tufts political science professor Jeff Berry says Brown is appealing right now to a different constituency: Republican donors:
“He is playing to his base right now more to the general election and hoping this will increase enthusiasm for him and help him raise money,” Berry says. He adds that Brown has been lagging with out-of-state contributions, since Republicans are more focused on the GOP presidential primary.
What's your take on the ads? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter @wgbhnews or on Facebook.
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