The political arm of Planned Parenthood has endorsed Elizabeth Warren in her challenge of Senator Scott Brown, providing timely support in what political analysts say is a crucial, competitive contest for women voters.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund said Warren has proved to be a “vocal champion for women’s health and rights and will be a passionate advocate in Congress.’’
“We’ve been watching what’s been going on in terms of all the discussion around women’s health, and how important strong and consistent positions are on that, and we’re excited to be endorsing Elizabeth Warren, because she certainly supports women’s health,’’ Dianne Luby, president of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund in Massachusetts, said in a phone interview.
Luby cited Warren’s recent opposition to the so-called Blunt amendment in the decision to endorse her over Brown.
The Blunt amendment was a failed measure that would have allowed employers to deny coverage of health services they find morally objectionable, such as birth control.
Brown voted in favor of the measure, which inflamed many women’s groups.
Luby said that the outrage and public debate over the matter show that women’s health remains a key political issue.
“It just shows you that women are not taking this for granted and are going to mobilize and vote on things that are important to them,’’ she said.
A spokeswoman for Warren said the candidate was pleased to have the endorsement.
“Elizabeth shares Planned Parenthood’s commitment to ensuring women can get the health care they need and will fight the continuing Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood,’’ said Alethea Harney.
A spokesman for Brown declined to comment.
The endorsement for Warren comes as Brown has been working since the Blunt vote in early March to craft an image that would appeal to female voters, a key voting bloc that analysts say could determine the outcome of the election.
Women make up a slight majority of likely voters and of the coveted independents who will decide the election.
Brown has made radio ads, appeared on CNN, and spoken on the Senate floor about his support for giving women a greater role in combat and for reauthorizing the federal Violence Against Women Act.
Brown campaigns regularly with his wife and two daughters, and two weeks ago he toured a shelter for victims of domestic violence with his sister. A Women for Brown Coalition has also been established.
Brown has been a supporter of Planned Parenthood before: A year ago, he joined Senator John F. Kerry in striking down a budget amendment that would have banned federal funds from going to the organization because it provides abortions, as well as other reproductive care.
The courting of female voters has been an underlying strategy of both Brown and Warren. She has received support among women’s groups including Emily’s List, the political action committee geared toward getting more Democratic women elected to Congress.