Republican Senate Candidates Embrace GOP Culture War, Attack on Women’s Health Care

February 28, 2012
CONTACT: Matt Canter, (202) 485-3129

Republican Senate Candidates Embrace #GOPCultureWar, Attack on Women’s Health Care

Scott Brown, George Allen, Josh Mandel, Dennis Rehberg, & Dean Heller All On Defensive About Their Attacks On Women As Vote on Blunt-Brown Amendment Nears

Two weeks ago, national Republican interests groups and Republican candidates like Scott Brown and George Allen giddily attacked Democrats for supporting measures that protect access to contraception and other forms of health care  for women.  Now, these divisive Republican attacks against women are boomeranging, forcing Republican Senate candidates like Brown, Allen, Dennis Rehberg, Dean Heller and Josh Mandel to run for the hills, rather than explain why they are championing measures like the Blunt-Brown Amendment that would block access to basic health care services for women instead of measures that create jobs.

“The coordinated GOP attack on women and basic health care access shows independent voters that the Republican party is far more interested in advancing the divisive culture wars than working to create jobs and fix the economy,” said Matt Canter, spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Republican powers that be and Republican Senate candidates are running on an anti-women agenda that puts common forms of contraception at risk and blocks access to non-controversial health care treatments for women across the country.  From a political perceptive we’ve seen this play out before in Senate races like Colorado in 2010 and the Personhood debate in Mississippi in 2011. Republicans are on the wrong side of this issue.”

Across the country, Republicans are hiding from their own attacks against Democratic candidates who support access to contraception and birth control.

Few places is this more apparent than in Massachusetts, where Scott Brown tried to attack his opponent Elizabeth Warren for wanting to provide access to contraception to women.  Brown fully embraced the extreme Senate measure that would allow any employer or insurance provider to take away coverage for contraception and basic health care services for any reason.   Now, Brown is being hit on all sides for the Blunt-Brown amendment in Massachusetts, with Bay State women, advocacy groups and pundits grilling Brown for supporting the extreme measure.

Even worse for Brown, he continues drive the issue home with Bay State voters by distorting Ted Kennedy’s record in a series of misleading radio ads.  The Kennedy family and Kennedy’s former aides are calling Brown’s bluff, demonstrating how Brown is distorting Kennedy’s record and calling him to take down the misleading ads.

In Virginia, George Allen is running into similar problems.  After touting in his support of Virginia “personhood” legislation just a few weeks ago and tying himself to the GOP’s war against contraception, Allen’s now drawing fire for campaigning on the legislation that would make certain kinds of contraception illegal instead of focusing on creating jobs. Allen even doubled down on the GOP culture war by calling for a national personhood policy. And just yesterday, Allen refused to denounce a Virginia measure that would force women to undergo an extremely invasive ultrasound, a procedure that experts say would meet the Virginia definition of rape, before they could terminate a pregnancy.

Other Republican Senate candidates are also embracing the #GOPCultureWar and attack on women’s health care.  Dennis Rehberg cosponsors the Brown-Blunt amendment, and Dean Heller has already taken on tremendous criticism for voting to cut Planned Parenthood and deny Nevada women access to basic, non-controversial health care treatments. And in Ohio, Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel is under scrutiny for supporting a “heartbeat bill,” which would make abortion against the law before most women would not even know they were pregnant. The law would have no exceptions if the pregnancy were the result of rape or incest.

“Whether it’s Scott Brown fighting for a bill that would allow employers to block health care coverage for women, George Allen’s legislation that would make some types of birth control illegal, or Josh Mandel’s support for the so-called “heart beat bill,” it’s obvious Republican Senate candidates want to push an extreme social agenda that hurts women rather than create jobs across America,” Canter added.

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