Clarifying a Roll Call Story

February 9, 2010

By Matthew Faraci

On February 8th, 2010, Roll Call ran a piece in the K Street Files called “United for Brown” – talking about newly elected Senator Scott Brown’s stance on the abortion issue. You can read the article here.

I want to clarify a few points made in the piece because it does not accurately reflect our view on this issue.

First, Americans United for Life Action is non-partisan. We work with pro-life leaders in both parties and did not weigh in on the Massachusetts Senate race. Therefore, the notion that we “support” Senator Brown as an organization is not accurate.

There is, of course, another side of the non-partisan coin that merits a mention. When a member of either party supports a position that is consistent with our position, we offer our encouragement. We are willing and eager to work with any elected official to find areas upon which we can agree. On the life issue, we believe that there is considerable common ground to discuss with Senator Brown. That was the clear message we conveyed in our emails, statements, and interviews on that subject.

It is of course no secret that Brown signaled during the campaign that he would be the 41st vote against the Senate health care bill. On that we strongly agree, because the bill would create the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. And on other life issues, we think there is significant opportunity to find common ground, despite the Senator’s acknowledged support for Roe.

A Boston Globe article from January 4, 2010, lists some of the issues (detailed below) on which we agree with Senator Brown. He opposes federal funding for abortion, supports parental consent rules for minors seeking to have an abortion, supports a ban on partial-birth abortion, and is in favor of promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Brown co-sponsored the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which would require a woman to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the developmental progress of her fetus, as well as an amendment that allowed for rights of conscience for healthcare providers in dealing with emergency contraception.

These are all measures that have our support.

Brown also told the Globe that he wants to see the numbers of abortions in America reduced. In fact, Dianne Luby, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, said, “There is nothing that I can see that demonstrates that he would support abortion rights.”

While we respectfully disagree with Senator Brown on his preference that abortion be kept legal, it is important to start a dialogue – not just with the Senator but all over the country – about specific ways to make progress and move America in the right direction on Life.

Having such a dialogue may be one of the most important ways we can move forward on an issue that has overwhelming support from the American public. In poll after poll, Americans have made it clear that they want to see progress. We want to see progress too. The best way to make that happen is to talk to people who may not agree with us all of the time, but agree with us in ways that are important for the cause of Life.

So, once again, we welcome the new Senator from Massachusetts to Washington and look forward to meeting him.

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