In a campaign season when most Republicans are steering clear of invoking the abortion debate, Senator Scott Brown has released a new advertisement highlighting his support for abortion rights.
The Brown campaign did not issue a press release announcing the ad was airing, as is customary. But Emily's List provided a link to the ad from a broadcast during the news on NECN. Emily's List, a Democratic campaign group that supports candidates who favor legalized abortion, including Elizabeth Warren, called the ad "shockingly dishonest."
The Brown campaign said the senator "has a strong record standing up for the issues important to women."
"He is pro-choice, supports good jobs with equal pay and is an independent leader focused on turning this economy around for all of us," said Alleigh Marre, a spokeswoman. "Attempts by Professor Warren and her supporters to scare women voters won't work. She should apologize for her negative campaign."
Meanwhile, the Brown campaign said it was releasing yet another ad this afternoon, responding to a Warren ad released Thursday, the first negative ad from either candidate.
"Instead of talking about things that matter, like jobs, she's being dishonest about who I am and what I stand for," Brown says in the new spot. "Don't be fooled by Elizabeth Warren's negative attacks. Like a lot of you, I came from nothing. I'm on your side, fighting for the middle class."
Brown has long said he supports abortion rights and recently called on the Republican Party to remove strict anti-abortion language from his platform. But he has also drawn support from the state's leading anti-abortion group, as well as opposition from groups that support abortion rights.
The new ad comes as the Massachusetts Republican State Committee decided Thursday night to put off a decision on whether to adopt the national party's platform until after the November election.
Massachusetts Republicans have traditionally been more socially liberal than the national party. The state GOP's current platform does not make a reference to abortion.
Brown and Warren have competed fiercely over women's issues because female voters are believed to be key swing voters in the closely fought election.
The newest television ad features women praising Brown.
"Scott Brown is pro-choice, and he supports a woman's right to choose," one woman says.
"I like that Scott Brown is independent, he really thinks for himself," says another.
The comments from women are interspersed with video of Brown, wearing his famous barn jacket, standing in front of his home with his two daughters, his wife, and their dog.
"When my daughters grow up, I want to make sure that they have good jobs with equal pay, and I know Scott Brown will fight for that," one woman says.
Emily's list said in a release that "Scott Brown is straight-up lying to Massachusetts voters with his latest ad."
"Brown does not support a woman's right to choose – his anti-choice voting record has earned him the support of an anti-choice organization in this very campaign," said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY's List. "And Brown does not support equal pay for women – he actually voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act."
Brown voted with other Republicans in June to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, saying it would spark lawsuits and unreasonably hamper employers. The bill would have required employers to provide a reason for disparities in pay, among other new requirements.
Warren has received the backing of several prominent groups that support legalized abortion. Brown was the first Senate Republican to call on Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin to abandon his campaign after Akin said that "legitimate rape" victims can somehow prevent pregnancies.
Brown also pledged during a press conference last month to "never vote in the Senate to curb women's reproductive rights."
But he has also taken votes that have upset groups that favor abortion rights. Brown cosponsored the Blunt Amendment, which would allow health plans and employers to refuse to pay for contraception and other medical services if they have a religious or moral objection. He also opposed the Disclose Act, which would require independent political groups to disclose the names of donors who give more than $10,000. Anti-abortion groups were strongly opposed to the act because they believed it curbed First Amendment rights.