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Birth control splits GOP in New England

Moderates, women balk at Brown, Ayotte stances

WASHINGTON - The roiling debate over coverage for birth control is fracturing New England Republicans, as some moderates in the GOP - particularly women - say they feel marginalized by the positions taken by Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

The divisions point to the potential dangers for Brown as he seeks reelection in a state that is not as conservative as those represented by fellow GOP senators who are supporting a controversial health care bill in the Senate. The measure, sponsored by Roy Blunt of Missouri, would allow employers and insurers to place limits on what they cover, including birth control, on moral or religious grounds.

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