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The Podium

Will Gomez stand up for women?

Gabriel Gomez at a campaign event in Mattapan on Tuesday. Jonatha Wiggs Photo/Boston Globe.

Gabriel Gomez at a campaign event in Mattapan on Tuesday. Jonatha Wiggs Photo/Boston Globe.

Gabriel Gomez’s run for US Senate should come with a warning label: Contents are harmful to women’s health.

First, Gomez spent the entire primary election avoiding questions of women’s access to health care – an issue that is deeply important to Massachusetts voters. Now, he’s back at it.

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In a recent Globe story, Gomez dodged questions about where he stands on access to birth control and safe, legal abortion. When pushed on whether he would have supported the Blunt amendment, he said he wasn’t sure how he would have voted because he hasn’t read the amendment.

Then, at a press conference the following day, Gomez was asked again by reporters if he would have supported the Blunt amendment. He ducked the question. Four times.

The Blunt amendment would have allowed a woman’s boss to deny her health insurance coverage for birth control. The fact that Gomez refuses to clarify his stance on such an extreme proposal is deeply troubling.

Gomez, who is an ex-Navy SEAL, has also said he supports proposals that restrict abortion access for women in the military, favoring policies that force women serving overseas to go off-base into potentially dangerous circumstances to seek health care.

Most concerning, Gomez has repeatedly said that he would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Doing so would be a devastating blow to the half a million Massachusetts women already benefiting from no co-pay birth control and other preventive health care, including cancer screenings.

Let’s be clear. Gomez’s pattern of comments on women’s health care is disturbing and dangerous. Massachusetts’s women (and the men who worry about the health of their wives, daughters, and sisters) care deeply about these issues.

In fact, according to a WBUR poll conducted in March, 73 percent of voters support access to safe, legal abortion in all or most cases. Senator Elizabeth Warren beat Scott Brown by a 20 percent margin with women voters. Overall, 51 percent of voters said abortion was very important in their decision.

And this isn’t just about access to safe and legal abortion. Gomez should take note that Scott Brown’s resounding defeat actually came after he co-sponsored the Blunt amendment.

The more Gomez dodges these questions, the clearer it becomes that he does not stand for Massachusetts values. If elected,Gomez would likely march in lockstep with Republicans who want to pass extreme laws that would turn back the clock on women by 50 years.

The truth is we know the winner of the June 25 election will be faced with critical votes on birth control and abortion access in the Senate. For women in Massachusetts and around this country, that’s why it is essential that both senators from Massachusetts are trusted to stand up for women.

Marty Walz is chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.
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