UPDATE: Wednesday, Oct. 8:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown Wednesday morning will begin airing a new television ad answering what he calls Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s “smear campaign” questioning his pro-choice credentials.
Our story below details the Shaheen ad, which hits Brown for supporting a bill entitled the “Women’s Right-to-Know Act” while he was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature.
In his new ad, obtained by the New Hampshire Journal late Tuesday, Brown looks directly into the camera and says: “You may have seen that Jeanne Shaheen is running an ad calling into question my support for women’s health care. I want you to know the facts.”
He says he is pro-choice, supports funding for Planned Parenthood, and believes women “should have access to contraception.”
Brown says, “After six years of voting with President Obama, Senator Shaheen has resorted to a smear campaign to distract voters from her record. Senator Shaheen knows better. And the people of New Hampshire deserve better.”
View the ad below. Our earlier story, with the Shaheen ad, follows.
TUESDAY, OCT. 7:
DERRY – A visibly upset GOP U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown Tuesday called on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to pull from the airwaves what he called a false television ad that charges he twice cosponsored legislation in Massachusetts that would have “forced” women to view photographs of their fetuses before being allowed to obtain an abortion.
The “Women’s Right to Know Act” did not pass, and Brown did not deny that it would have required doctors to provide “information” to women seeking to have an abortion before the procedure could be performed. But he said it did not force women “to do anything” and described the bill as effort to promote adoptions.
“In this ad, Senator Shaheen lies about the bill, she lies about my position on adoption and she should absolutely take it off the air immediately,” Brown said.
The Shaheen campaign stood by the ad, with Shaheen saying in a statement, “Scott Brown is not pro-choice and his record proves it.”
Brown began the day hoping to focus solely on foreign policy, as he has now for several weeks. Potential GOP presidential hopeful and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was in the state to formally endorse Brown and to appear with him at a campaign event with veterans.
The foreign policy discussion was held, but not before Brown called a press conference specifically to respond to the Shaheen ad, aimed at shoring up the Democratic incumbent’s already significant advantage in polls among women, while the overall race remains extremely tight.
Shaheen continued a tour entitled, “A Senator New Hampshire Women Can Trust” with an early stop, also in Derry, at the Creative Chef Kitchens.
The bill cited in her ad, the “Women’s Right to Know Act,” says that a woman seeking an abortion must be given “a description of the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at two week gestational increments from fertilization to full term, including color photographs or if a representative photograph is not available, realistic drawings of the developing unborn child at two week increments, and including written information about brain and heart function and the presence of external members and internal organs at each stage of development.”
The bill was introduced in 2003 and again in 2005.
In his 2012 race against Elizabeth Warren, Brown won the endorsement of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, despite the fact that he said repeatedly he is pro-choice. A group spokesman said at the time, ““We consider him a senator who votes pro-life.”
The ad, which will air for a week, has a narrator saying, “In Massachusetts Scott Brown pushed for a law to force women considering abortion – force them – to look at color photographs of developing fetuses. Scott Brown wants the government to tell them how to make this decision.
“Anti-choice groups in Massachusetts endorsed Scott Brown and women there voted him out,” the ad says.
View the ad below
Brown called the ad a “smear,” “insensitive” and “inaccurate.”
“What Jeanne Shaheen is doing is despicable,” Brown said. “Her lies and scare tactics are quite frankly disappointing.”
He said he has always been a “pro-choice, independent Republican,” with a “strong record of supporting women’s health care.”
“Some of you know I’ve been protecting women since my mom was being beaten,” when he was five-years-old, he told reporters — a reference to his well-known difficult childhood and his “abusive step-father.”
Brown said he supported the Violence Against Women Act, “stood up to my party to oppose language that would take away a women’s right to choose” and supported funding for Planned Parenthood.
He said that while in the military, he and “my team rewrote the sexual assault prevention regulations to make sure women who were raped or assaulted had recourse.
“The very sad thing about it is Senator Shaheen knows all this,” Brown said. “She knows I was one of just a handful of Republicans to support her amendment to protect female service members who were raped and allow them to get the services and care that they needed.
“For her to lie and say I am opposed to women’s health care is not only insensitive, but it’s also deeply offensive,” he said.
He said the Women’s Right to Know bill “was never even voted on,” and “did not force women to do anything. I would ever force a woman to do anything.”
He said the bill required doctors to provide “alternatives to abortion…and that woman could have taken that and thrown it right in the (garbage) if she wanted to. It wasn’t forced. The sole intent was to help promote adoptions.”
As for the 24 hour waiting period, Brown did not deny that the provision was part of the bill. But he said, “The bill never came forward. If that was an issue that was concerning other members, we could have amended that part of the bill.
“I joined on board because I always felt that we needed more adoptions. That’s my core belief. And to have Senator Shaheen twist that around and pervert it – well, I thought I’ve been it all, but I guess I haven’t.
“There have been a lot of negative ads run,” he said, “but this one absolutely crosses the line…Shame on Senator Shaheen for playing politics with women.”
“This is the last arrow in the quiver,” Brown said. “She knows that she’s loosing.”
But the Shaheen campaign stood by the ad.
“Being pro-choice means letting women make their own reproductive healthcare decisions, but Scott Brown believes both the government and women’s employers should be able to interfere in these private decisions,” the campaign said. “He twice backed legislation that would force women to look at pictures of fetuses before they terminated a pregnancy, and he both cosponsored and voted for the Blunt Amendment that would let employers deny women coverage for a range of healthcare services, including mammograms and contraception. This summer he also supported the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that allows certain employers to deny women contraception coverage.
“These are the facts and they are undisputable.”
Shaheen, meanwhile, said, “I have spent my entire career fighting for women’s reproductive rights and access to a full range of health services, and this November voters have a real choice to make. I believe women should be trusted to make private medical decisions in consultation with their families and their healthcare provider, not with the government, not with their employer and not with Scott Brown.”
The campaign also noted that Brown supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision and while in the Senate, cosponsored the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to deny coverage for contraception based on a moral objection.
Brown said the Hobby Lobby decision would not have been an issue were it not for the Affordable Care Act.
“I have always worked to protect the Bill of Rights and the ability of people to continue to practice their faith,” he said.
Shaheen, he said, “supports efforts to take away people’s religious freedoms. We should not be pitting people’s religious freedoms against the ability to do and not do things. To demonize people because of their faith and personal beliefs is not a road I’m going to go down.”