"I support family planning and health services for women," Brown said in a statement. "Given our severe budget problems, I don't believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far. As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise that is reasonable and appropriate."
Last month, House Republicans passed an amendment by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) that strips all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which Pence says is necessary to prevent taxpayer funds going to abortions.
But funds provided by the government can't be used for abortions, and Planned Parenthood earmarks them for family planning and women's health services, including cancer screenings.
Pence has also cited the "investigation" by anti-abortion group LiveAction as part of the reason the government should no longer provide funding for the clinics. LiveAction sent actors posing as pimps and prostitutes into local Planned Parenthood clinics, who then referenced their supposed underage sex workers while trying to get employees to incriminate themselves. The videos were highly edited, and only resulted in one employee getting fired.
Late Update: Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America and Andrea Miller, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts issued a joint statement calling Brown's comments a "positive first step," but added that "this is about more than one issue. We also call on Sen. Brown to stand up for the Commonwealth's women and oppose other far-reaching and intrusive anti-choice policies as they move from the House to the Senate."
And Matt Canter, Communications Director of the DSCC sent TPM the following statement:
If Scott Brown felt this way, he should have shown some backbone and opposed these cuts in the first place. Instead he did what he always does and stood in lock step with the Republican establishment in Washington DC, voting to cut funding for 800 women's health care clinics across the country, including more than a half dozen in Massachusetts. Scott Brown is not who he says he is. He votes with Mitch McConnell 98 percent of the time, and Massachusetts voters deserve better.