I've laid low publicly about the dust up because nobody in the pro-life community disputes that Martha Coakley is a greater threat to life and liberty than Brown. In fact, everyone is in agreement that Coakley's ideology on the sanctity of life is worse than Kennedy's.
I don't mean this entry to be discouraging to anyone who in good faith believes Brown will stop Martha Coakley and/or the healthcare bill. I fully understand and can empathize with that trajectory.
Early on, hardcore prolifers did their diligence on Brown's convictions on abortion. Brown was couching his language in writing because he was courting the prolife community, but was straight-forward verbally to many prolifers that he supports Roe v. Wade.
As Brown's campaign trotted along, in conversations with Massachusetts prolifers at large, it became clear to me that the lack of written verification of Brown's support of Roe v. Wade was causing some confusion. Apparently MCFL had invited Brown to put up a table at the Boston 2009 Walk for Life. Accordingly, people presumed the invitation and Brown's presence indicated MCFL had scrutinized his convictions about the sanctity of life, made the determination on behalf of the pro-life community that he opposed Roe v. Wade and did not do their own diligence.
I wrote to Scott, explained the situation and asked him to come clean in writing about his convictions on abortion.
This was his reply:
Hi Carol.I am against partial-birth abortion, for parental consent, and against federal funding for abortions. Hope this helps.
I noted the deliberate omission of his support for Roe v. Wade and asked not to proceed with this strategy.
I told him playing games with words would be perceived in the prolife community as his character being deceptive rather than honorable. I explained that because pro-lifers consider Coakley so culturally dangerous, I believed he'd be better off marketing himself with honesty. That way, prolifers would at least know Brown says what he means and means what he says, and he'll follow through with his campaign promises.
I told him I was very tapped into the grassroots, the actual people who "vote", and I believed garnering support with intellectual dishonesty would be detrimental to his campaign, the leadership of the people he was using in the prolife community to distribute misinformation and to the future unity of the Massachusetts prolife community.
I wrote him numerous times regurgitating the above soundbytes and asking him to man up.
He never responded.
He subsequently did say he was in favor of abortion rights in this Boston Globe article:
On abortion rights, Brown is basically in favor but with nuance. “Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and I don’t plan on overturning it, but I’ve always felt that, you know, I’m against partial-birth abortions and believe in parental consent, a strong parental notification law,’’ Brown said, adding that he would not apply an abortion rights litmus test in Supreme Court confirmations.
And, on his campaign website:
AbortionThe following is Project Vote Smart rating of Brown on abortion:
While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America. I believe government has the responsibility to regulate in this area and I support parental consent and notification requirements and I oppose partial birth abortion. I also believe there are people of good will on both sides of the issue and we ought to work together to support and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.
2005 Senator Brown supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts 50 percent in 2005.
2004 Senator Brown supported the interests of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life 33 percent in 2004.
2000 In 2000 Massachusetts Citizens for Life determined Senator Brown to be 8.
In addition to Brown, there was another candidate in the Republican primary running for Kennedy's seat - Jack E. Robinson. Robinson claimed to be pro-life and tried to lobby prolifers saying that both Brown and MCFL were misrepresenting his pro-life credentials.
Dec 8 Tue Special Primary election for Senator Kennedy's old seat;
All Democrats are Pro-Choice (Pro-Abortion) and Pro-same-sex marriage; STEPHEN G. PAGLIUCA, Rep. Michael Capuano (100% NARAL Pro-Choice rating), AG Martha Coakley (100% NARAL Pro-Choice) and ALAN A. KHAZEI.
You could at least exercise your Prudential Judgment with a vote for a Republican
Republican Scott Brown has a mixed Pro-Life/Pro-Choice record but is against same-sex marriage.
Republican Jack E. Robinson is Pro-Life but also Pro-same-sex marriage and Pro-Gay and Transgender rights. He was against the Stimulus and the Public option on Health Care.
Yet, on page 5 of the November/December issue of MCFL News, not only was Robinson excluded from the MCFL chart on where the candidates stood on the life issues, but the question of whether the candidates actually favored or opposed abortion was omitted!
Following the publication of MCFL's newsletter and just before the primary, MCFL responded to Robinson's claims that they and Brown were being less than forthright, by circulating an amazing email written by Anne Fox, throwing Robinson under the bus:
On the Republican side, Jack E. Robinson has entered the race. His campaign delivered cards to homes in the cities across the state. The cards claim that he is the only pro-life candidate.
Robinson was interviewed by Deborah Becker on WBUR Radio in Boston. She asked him where he stands on abortion. He answered, "Well, I would never vote for a constitutional amendment, if that's what you are asking me, but I'm personally pro-life."
This is an amazing and contradictory position for two reasons.
First, the "only pro-life candidate" obviously would want to guarantee the right to life of all by passing a constitutional amendment.
Secondly, the last time Robinson ran for the U. S. Senate he filled out the MCFL questionnaire. The first question, "Do you believe that the law should protect the right to life of each human being from conception to natural death?" Robinson answered "yes", which, of course, implies support for a constitutional amendment.
If you live in Everett, North Adams, Fall River or one of the many places where the cards were distributed, you need to share this information with everyone in your area.
We'll keep you up to date as the Primary approaches.
Anne Fox, President
The real question is here, in "keeping people up to date", why hasn't Scott Brown's contradictory position, support of Roe v. Wade and opposition to a constitutional amendment ever been distributed to the pro-life community?
In the past week, MCFL has escalated their campaign for Brown in the pro-life community using the adjective "pro-life":
The PAC is organizing this effort by state rep. districts. That means you can help close to home.
Jack says, "This is an unprecedented opportunity to send a pro life vote to the Senate. The turn-out will be very low. The name of the game will be getting out the vote. There are more than enough pro-lifers in the state to send Scott Brown to Washington - a pro-life vote from Massachusetts, no less!....
Jack and the PAC are working very hard. Thank you for helping!
Anne Fox, President
I'm not exactly sure why MCFL is convinced Brown is going to vote against healthcare. Seems to me, he supports national healthcare:
Brown supported Massachusetts health care overhaul in 2006 and favors elements advanced in the congressional debate about a national overhaul. But he said he would oppose the bills now moving through Congress because they would help other states at the expense of Massachusetts.
It's clear to me that Brown favors national healthcare but opposes elements that siphon money from Massachusetts. It should also not go unnoticed that in 2006 he was in favor of healthcare reform in Massachusetts that publicly funds abortions.
I wrote to Janet Callahan (of MCFL) yesterday, pointing out that most people in the prolife community have relied upon MCFL's representation that Brown is "pro-life" thinking that implies he opposes Roe v. Wade.
I explained that an honest campaign would have explained Brown is pro-choice but better than Coakley because there are many in the grassroots who are done with compromising. They have the right to accurate information from MCFL. I suggested they stop using the word "pro-life".
Never before in history of the authentic prolife movement has anyone used the word "pro-life" for a pro-choice candidate. We ought to leave that to the Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good crowd.
This was her response:
Thank you for you email. However, it is a misstatement to say that MCFL calls Scott Brown “pro-life.” In fact, we call Scott Brown “a pro-life vote.”
Best wishes for a New Year filled with blessings,
I wrote back and explained that the latest round of worthsmything still doesn't cut it because Brown is NOT a "pro-life vote."
He's admitted when it comes to voting, his support is on the side of Roe v. Wade, so it's a pro-choice vote.
I reiterated that they can't send people out into the streets or to the polls with the serious omission and commission of making them believe they're working for a pro-life candidate.
Last night, they circulated another email, still implying Brown is a pro-lifer:
Jack Rowe, Chair, Massachusetts Citizens for Life Political Action Committee tells us:
"People are terribly upset about health care and asking what to do.
Here is the very exciting part. We in Massachusetts can actually save the whole country from this awful health care.
Our PAC has been supporting Scott Brown because he will be a pro-life vote in the Senate. Scott Brown will also vote against the health care bill.
After the compromise bill comes out of conference, it must be approved again by each house. Brown will vote against the bill. That means there will not be 60 votes in the Senate! That means the bill will be defeated!
Can we do it? We certainly can! Turn-out will be very small. If each of you votes for Scott Brown and gets one other person to vote that should win the election. Also, be sure to arrange for your elderly or house-bound friends to vote. Call your town hall on Monday!
We must be very sure so we are doing a huge pro-life literature "drop" the weekend of January 16 and 17 - right before the election. We need your help! Please contact Janet at Mass Citizens to volunteer: email@example.com or 617-242-4199 X 230.
We are the only state that can stop this health care! You and I are the voters who can do it. Contact Janet today!
I'm sorry to say this, but if you take a leadership position in the pro-life community, the duty comes with prohibitions against the violation of the word "pro-life".
There are many of us who believe the strategy of voting for the "lesser of two evils" has done a disservice to the unborn. By supporting the lesser of two evils, we keep circling in the same vicious cycle of empowering evil. It has destroyed our country.
It isn't spite and it isn't foolishness.
It's political strategy.
Let me explain.
We're in a unique position at this point in time in history.
The power of the GOP has been choked off. They didn't give us the right candidates.
The system is set up in a hierarchy. The GOP shoots candidates up the flagpole, lobbies initiatives with grassroots followings and networks to see if they'll salute. When a suitable candidate passes inspection we presumably will then provide leadership and ground troops to lobby voters for their candidate.
The system is designed to work so that the initiatives say "no" to the GOP when they come around with a pro-choice candidate. But that is no longer happening.
In 2008, the GOP cleaned Romney up thinking Romney's life-long opposition to us in the trenches would be forgotten if they taught him the right soundbytes. Romney had the best guidance and counsel money could buy.
Sadly, a number of loose cannons in that middle-management layer of pro-life initiatives said "yes" to Romney. But, when Romney was circulated to the ground troops, we refused to rally the ground troops to get the voter out.
We choked the power at the level above the voter.
So, here we are in 2010 and the GOP has lobbied a pro-life initiative to get out the vote for a prochoice candidate.
Here's why working for a prochoice candidate, and worse, giving him any kind of pro-life credentials, is political suicide:
- The entire structure of political power is based upon money and the power of networking.
- Every prolife candidate that comes along, we don't support because "he doesn't have a chance".
- He doesn't have a chance because he doesn't have the "money".
- Prolife candidates cannot make it without the people in the GOP with the money. It is a sad fact but true that we need money to get the message and our people out into the public square on the trains, in front of the boob tube, ads, on websites, commercials - etc.
- The GOP will never give our candidates the money, so long as we keep supporting prochoice candidates who are fiscal conservatives.
- Lobbying our POWER to the GOP who now knows we'll use our network and call their prochoice candidate "pro-life" is political suicide.
When Judie Brown or Fr. Pavone say a candidate is pro-life, we know exactly what that word means.
When Patrick Kennedy uses the word "pro-life", we know he's hijacked the word to give it a different meaning.
The pro-life community should not have to be second guessing what MCFL means when they use the word "pro-life". MCFL's dishonesty about the word "prolife" leaves me very troubled. The trust of the people is being violated and consciences are being deliberately misinformed.
I'm of the opinion that we have a real opportunity to get the GOP to give us authentic pro-life candidates going forward. The GOP needs pro-lifers. Frankly, I'm uncertain as to whether they are actually tapped in enough to the grassroots to know we're choking them at the level beneath the "pro-life initiatives" giving them less than savvy advice about who we're going to lobby, campaign and vote for.
For anyone thinking they'd like to take another crack at sending a prochoice vote to Washington, knock yourselves out.
Personally, I don't think campaigning for Scott Brown is playing our cards right and he certainly shouldn't be honored with the adjective "pro-life".
n.b. Oh, and in case you're wondering about the picture, that's Scott Brown in his "America's Sexiest Man" nude centerfold spread from Cosmopolitan Magazine.