CONCORD — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and her allies on Wednesday continued portraying GOP challenger Scott Brown as a candidate who says he is pro-choice but whose actions tell a different story.
The Democratic incumbent continued her “A Senator New Hampshire Women Can Trust” tour in Peterborough and Keene while the New Hampshire Democratic Party brought to the state Massachusetts state Senate President Therese Murray, who recalled that in 2003 and 2005, Brown sponsored a bill that mandating that women be provided photographs or drawings of their fetuses, and other information about fetal development, before they can obtain abortions.
Brown says he cosponsored the “Women’s Right To Know Act” to promote adoptions. He said on Tuesday the bills, which never passed, would not have forced women to view the photographs or any information required to be provided.
He has called a Shaheen campaign ad on the bill “lies,” has called on Shaheen to pull the ad from the airwaves (a demand she ignored, predictably) and has countered with his own ad in which he says Shaheen is conducting a “smear” campaign.
His campaign launched an online petition demanding that she pull the ad.
“Scott Brown is a pro-choice independent Republican who has a strong record of supporting women’s health care,” said Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Guyton. “Senator Shaheen has resorted to running a smear campaign to distract voters from her own record supporting President Obama and his failed policies 99 percent of the time. It is shameful that she is playing politics with women, and the people of New Hampshire will not be fooled by her dirty smear campaign.”
With two new polls out Wednesday night showing Shaheen with a six-point and two-point lead over Brown, Shaheen continued on the same theme that her campaign hopes will be successful in driving up Brown’s negative ratings, especially among women: reproductive rights.
“He co-sponsored and voted for the Blunt Amendment which would allow employers to deny women employees insurance coverage not only for birth control, but also for preventive health care like mammograms,” Shaheen said. “He supports the recent Supreme Court (Hobby Lobby) decision that would allow certain employers to deny women coverage for birth control. And he even twice backed a bill to force women to look at color pictures of fetuses before they terminated a pregnancy. Scott Brown’s record is just further proof that New Hampshire women can’t trust him.”
Murray joined a top NARAL staffer in New Hampshire to criticize Brown.
“Scott claims he’s pro-choice, yet he votes to put women into boxes, stripping them of any choice when it comes to their health and reproductive care,” said Murray. She said forcing women to wait 24 hours before receiving abortions and giving them “images and descriptions of developing fetuses before terminating a pregnancy…is not something that anyone who comes to that decision should be forced to go through.
“No politician, especially not Scott Brown, should insert themselves in that decision.”
The Brown campaign responded by attacking Murray’s credibility.
“It’s appalling that Senator Shaheen would campaign with a disgraced politician who was ensnared in a federal investigation into political corruption at the Massachusetts State House,” Guyton said. “Senate President Therese Murray is leaving office under a cloud for her role placing friends and political supporters in state jobs over more qualified applicants. There is an ongoing federal investigation into the matter but Jeanne Shaheen is so desperate to smear Scott Brown that she is willing to enlist the support of unethical political figures.”
But NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire Executive Director Laura Thibault said, “Who is Scott Brown to tell women what they need before making a private decision? When did Scott Brown become an expert on women and their own bodies? Why is Scott Brown deciding what’s best for women and their families? The legislation he has supported was nothing more than another effort to place barriers between a woman and her constitutional right to choose.”
Brown’s daughter, Ayla, responded to the Shaheen ad and overall criticisms in an opinion piece published in Foster’s Daily Democrat.
“As someone who experienced domestic violence as a kid, my dad stood up to his party and supported legislation, called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), to help those who have gone through domestic violence,” she wrote. “He’s literally been standing up and protecting women since he was five years old.”
She wrote that her father was a key player in revamping military sexual assault regulations and in 2012 “was one of just a handful of Republican senators who crossed party lines to back an amendment to protect female service members who are the victims of rape. This legislative push was called the Shaheen Amendment.”