Former Sen. Scott Brown, now the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, said during a debate on Monday that he has never opposed the ability for women to have easy access to contraception.
“To think that I don’t support women’s rights and ability to get contraception is just a false premise,” Brown said during the debate against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “I have since I was 18 years old.”
It was the latest example of a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate rebuffing Democratic attacks that they have acted as roadblocks between women and easy access to contraceptive care and birth control. A handful of Republican candidates in the last few months came out in support of making over-the-counter contraceptive care available without a prescription.
The thing is, Brown actually co-sponsored legislation that let employers opt out of having to provide health coverage (and that includes birth control) if they had moral objections. Brown’s answer on Monday was in response to a question about that legislation.
He also said during the debate on Monday that he co-sponsored that legislation because he opposed Obamacare requiring employers to have to cover birth control.
Brown’s campaign stressed that the former senator had always supported women’s health services. Brown’s campaign also recalled that Brown had called on the Republican Party to remove anti-abortion language in its platform.
“Scott Brown is pro-choice and supports women’s health services,” Brown communications director Elizabeth Guyton told The Huffington Post. “Jeanne Shaheen and her allies should be ashamed of themselves for scaring women and misrepresenting his record.
In late September, MSNBC also noted that, as a Massachusetts state legislator, Brown co-sponsored legislation that would have made women wait 24 hours before having an abortion. The legislation also required women to look at pictures of the developing fetus before the abortion. Brown, in an audio clip shared by the opposition research shop American Bridge, said in an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio that he didn’t remember that legislation.
“I’m not familiar with the specific bill that you’re referring to,” Brown said when asked about the legislation. “I’m not sure if it’s wrong, but I’ve voted on probably 8,000 bills give or take in my lifetime.
Watch the latest clip at the debate on Monday, also via American Bridge:
The TPM Polltracker average gives Shaheen a 5.3 point lead over Brown.