ads for Scott Brown feature women who proclaim that the senator is pro-choice, pro-working family, and pro-equality. Whatever those ads say, a Massachusetts Citizens For Life blog posted this week put it best: “Many are focusing on Senator Brown saying he is ‘pro-choice.’ He has always said that and then voted pro-life.”
Yes, indeed. As women who have spent years litigating and working for the very rights at issue here, we agree with Mass. Citizens for Life on this one: It is Brown’s votes and what he does, not what he says, that matter.
Brown cosponsored the Blunt Amendment, which would permit employer-funded health plans to exclude services, including birth control, from coverage when any employer asserts a “moral” objection. He voted for a spending bill that would eliminate Title X family planning programs, defund Planned Parenthood, and reinstate a ban on reproductive procedures necessary for women’s health. He voted to deny confirmation to Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan supposedly because she lacked courtroom experience (her courtroom work as this country’s solicitor general apparently did not count). And he voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Brown is wrong to think that a warm glance and comforting words are all you need to win women’s votes. If Brown wins, his victory would likely usher in a Republican majority in the Senate and, with it, an agenda hostile to women’s health, our rights, and our futures. We are not fooled, and women across Massachusetts should not be, either.
Gertner, a former federal judge, is the author of “In Defense of Women”; Zucker is a partner at Burns & Levinson and has litigated women’s rights cases; Segal was founding legal director of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.