No one owns Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s legacy. But Scott Brown has made an essentially deceptive claim — that the senator would support the Blunt Amendment. He has not just made the statement; he used it in a political advertisement. It is not only wrong but disrespectful to invoke the Kennedy name for a position that is contrary to what the senator believed.
Kennedy’s record and his values were based on the belief that all Americans should be treated equally under the law. This commitment was at the heart of his lifelong battle for civil rights, for employment opportunity, for educational opportunity. He believed that quality, affordable health care should be the birthright of every American, both men and women. That is why he had a long and consistent history of supporting legislation to provide contraceptive coverage. As Kennedy put it during a hearing in 2001, “contraceptive insurance coverage is essential for women’s health.” In 1997, 1999, 2001, 203, and 2005, Kennedy co-sponsored the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act introduced by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe. The legislation would have prohibited insurers from restricting contraception or denying contraceptive services — and the bill had no exemption for religious or moral reasons.