SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 24, 2012

Brown, Warren stress women's issues in Senate race

As the U.S. Senate race remains stubbornly tight in the last two weeks, both candidates have campaigned locally, emphasizing issues of women’s health and pay in a fight over the group that makes up more than half of the electorate.

Both candidates have highlighted their stances and support of breast and cervical cancer screening, federal laws on equal pay and maintaining abortion rights as polls suggest that women say they will vote for Democratic challenger Warren by double-digit margins.

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, at a campaign stop in North Andover Monday, defended his record supporting equal pay laws, funding for Planned Parenthood medical services — apart from abortion, which by law cannot be funded with federal money — and general issues important to women, like the economy, education and taxes.

“My opponent would have you believe there’s a war on women,” he said at Stachey’s Pizzeria on High Street. “Elizabeth Warren has to stop scaring women.”

Brown picked up the endorsement of women’s rights advocate Laurie Myers, who said the campaign should be about everyday issues like jobs and education. “The scare tactics have to stop,” she said.

The candidates have talked little about abortion — both are pro-choice — but Warren has attacked Brown for voting against a federal equal-pay law and for supporting a proposal in the Senate that would allow employers to drop coverage of medical services, including contraception, in the insurance they offer their employees for moral or religious reasons.

She also has criticized him for voting against Elena Kagan, the former Obama administration solicitor general and dean of Harvard Law School, during her Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“He had a chance to vote for a pro-choice candidate to the Supreme Court, and he voted no,” Warren said yesterday at Mann Orchards in Methuen. “Elena Kagan is eminently qualified and he voted no.”

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