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Entries in Abortion (313)

Friday
Jul182014

NHDP - Three Questions for Scott Brown on His Relentless Support for the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision 

Three Questions for Scott Brown on His Relentless Support for the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision Allowing Employers To Deny Women Insurance Coverage for Birth Control 

(Even If We Have to Shout Them Through a Bathroom Door)
 
Manchester, NH—Scott Brown can't hide in a bathroom from his out-of-touch view and votes allowing employers to deny women access to basic health care services and contraception. Brown still owes New Hampshire answers.
 
Yesterday, The Guardian newspaper reported how Scott Brown hid in a bathroom to avoid questions on Hobby Lobby, and later the police were called to avoid answering questions from a reporter. Meanwhile, “Women for Brown” co-chair and Senior Republican Julie Brown categorically denounced Scott Brown’s position on contraceptive care coverage for women, saying that his view that women should remain at the whims of their employers was at odds with “many, many” women in the state.
 
Instead of hiding in bathrooms, it's time for Brown to answer questions, starting with: 
 
1.     Have you explained to Julie Brown, your “Women for Brown” co-chair, why you won’t change your mind on this issue, which has put you at odds with a majority of NH women, and why you believe it is ok for employers to deny coverage and eliminate health care choices for women?
 
2.     Why do you think it’s appropriate to force a woman to consult her boss when making health care decisions?

3.     You were a strong supporter of the Blunt Amendment, which would have given employers the power to deny women coverage for any procedure—including mammograms—that they found morally objectionable, and the Supreme Court’s decision on Hobby Lobby. Why do you think women can't make their own decisions about their own health care? 

 
“Scott Brown should have to answer for his out-of-touch position on denying health coverage to women for preventative health care—he can’t just run and hide in the men’s bathroom,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. “He is running to represent New Hampshire women in the United States Senate. If he thinks he can get away with hiding until we all just go away, then he doesn’t understand women and he certainly doesn’t understand New Hampshire.”
Friday
Jul182014

NHDP - Havenstein Refuses to Stand Up for Women’s Affordable Access to Health Coverage (Again)

Manchester, NH – Once again, failed CEO Walt Havenstein refused to stand up for women’s health as he remained silent on the Hobby Lobby "fix" legislation that was blocked by Senate Republicans, which would have ensured women receive health coverage for their full range of basic health needs regardless of their boss's personal religious beliefs. 
 
It’s no surprise Havenstein has stayed quiet. Whenever he's been pushed to show his true colors on critical issues, he's proved to Granite State women why he can't be trusted to protect their right to affordable health care. 
 
In recent weeks, Walt celebrated the Supreme Court’s far-right Hobby Lobby decision that allows bosses to come between a woman and her doctor, and voiced his opposition to buffer zone measures that protect women and workers accessing reproductive health clinics.
 
“Walt Havenstein has shown time and again that he can't be trusted to stand up for New Hampshire women and families,” said Julie McClain, Communications Director for the New Hampshire Democratic Party.“Given his disturbing stances on the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision and buffer zone laws that protect women's safety and privacy, we're left to wonder where he stands on a number of other issues critical to women’s health that he refuses to answer.”
 
Below are just a few of the key questions Walt Havenstein has refused to answer on women's health:

Would he support the Bill O’Brien agenda to defund New Hampshire Planned Parenthood clinics?
 
He's already said he opposes New Hampshire's bipartisan plan to expand critical health coverage to tens of thousands of working women, including coverage for contraception. Would he also work to repeal our state's Medicaid expansion? 
 
He supports allowing employers to compensate women less than men by refusing to cover a woman's full range of basic health care needs while covering those of her male co-workers. Would he also work to repeal the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act that helps ensure women receive equal pay for an equal day's work? 
 
Would he support restrictions on women’s health clinics that were considered in the state legislature last spring?
 

And what other health coverage does he think men deserve but women don't? 
Thursday
Jul172014

NHDP - As Scott Brown Hides in Bathroom To Avoid Questions, Campaign Co-Chair Tells Reporter Brown Needs A U-Turn on Hobby Lobby

Brown Campaign Calls Cops on Reporter To Avoid Answering Questions
 

Manchester, NH — Scott Brown is now hiding in the bathroom and calling the police to avoid answering questions about his support for the Supreme Court decision allowing employers to deny women health insurance coverage for contraception. Brown also is ducking questions about his support for an even more extreme law that would allow employers to deny women in New Hampshire coverage for basic preventative health care services like mammograms.
 
While Scott Brown took to hiding to avoid having to justify his stance on access to contraceptive care, the co-chair of Women for Scott Brown was making known that she believes Brown is wrong. Julie Brown told a reporter that Scott Brown has the wrong position on contraception coverage, and is at odds with "many, many" New Hampshire women.  


 

First, rather than answering questions about his record opposing women's access to health care, Brown runs and hides in the bathroom of a diner:

 
I found Brown at a table at a restaurant called Priscilla's, introduced myself as a Guardian reporter and enquired if I could ask him some questions. Brown smiled nervously and replied: "What do you want to ask me about?"
 
"Hobby Lobby? That would be a start," I said.
 
“I’m all set," he replied. "We’re enjoying ourselves right now.”
 
“But you’re standing for Senate. It is routine for journalists to ask you questions and usually the candidates answer.”
 
“Not without notifying my office."
 
Brown stood up, walked to the back of the diner, and took shelter in the bathroom. A campaign aide, Jeremy, looked bewildered. He lingered beside me for a few moments, before politely excusing himself – “Nice to meet you” – and joining his boss in the bathroom.
 

 

Then, when Lewis tries again to ask Brown about his record on women's health care, the cops show up: 

 
I was explaining to [Brown’s staffer] that Senate candidates don’t get to dictate when and where journalists ask them questions, when Brown re-emerged. Gruffly, he told me I had intruded in a private event. He was not going to answer my questions about Hobby Lobby. "I’m not making any more news," he explained. "You’re being unprofessional and you’re being rude."
 
A large man with chest hair poking out of his shirt put it more bluntly. “You have to go,” he said. “We can either do this the right way, or we can do this the wrong way.”
 
“What is the wrong way?” I asked. “I don’t want you to find out," he said.
 
I left the campaign event in the company of the tavern's owner. He and I were talking on the porch, several minutes later, when a police car pulled up.
 
 

Read the full story...


The Guardian: Scott Brown: fallout from Hobby Lobby decision puts Senate bid in tight spot
 
GOP candidate Scott Brown has been labeled 'anti-women' by his Democratic rival, a label particularly toxic in New Hampshire
 
By Paul Lewis in West Ossipee, New Hampshire
 
Scott Brown has been touring New Hampshire since April, when he announced he would be running for the state's Senate seat. Hitting the campaign trail in his trademark pick-up truck, Brown has portrayed himself as an accessible candidate, introducing himself to voters at supermarkets, car shows, lobster shacks and a Harley Davidson-themed cookout.
 
A former Republican senator from neighbouring Massachusetts, Brown plans to win the election in his adopted state one handshake at a time. “Join Scott,” his website implores visitors. “Get on the trail.”
 
That was precisely what I did last Friday, when my unexpected arrival at Brown’s statewide tour revealed a different side to his campaign. Just a few miles from a town named Freedom, no less, I was expelled from two consecutive Brown campaign events, banned from asking him questions and, when I declined to abide by those terms, questioned by an officer of the law.
 
It turned out that Brown did not want to talk about about Hobby Lobby, the recent supreme court decision critics argue will deny some women contraceptive care in their insurance plans.
 
Brown, 54, is a former military colonel, lawyer and topless model turned Republican politician, who came to prominence when he unexpectedly won the Massachusetts Senate seat in 2009.
 
After losing that seat three years later, Brown flirted, briefly, with running for president, before switching his allegiance to New Hampshire and, in an attempt to dispense with his reputation as a carpetbagger, taking to the road to meet voters.
 
It is unclear if the strategy is working. A recent poll suggested the gap between Brown and his Democratic opponent – incumbent senator Jeanne Shaheen – has more than doubled since he announced his candidacy and began touring the state three months ago.
 
The anti-woman label: especially toxic in New Hampshire
 
He now trails Shaheen by 12 points – and also lags behind her in the fundraising contest. Further, Brown still has to win the GOP primary, which in New Hampshire is not held until September 9. Even though he is widely expected to win the Republican nomination, the primary is proving a distraction.
 
Meanwhile, the Shaheen campaign, in a repeat of the playbook that saw Brown defeated in Massachusetts by Elizabeth Warren, has been relentlessly painting Brown as anti-women.
 
It is a line of attack echoed across the US as midterm campaigns heat up, and Democrats seek to activate a key demographic constituency. It is not just women whom Democrats have come to rely on, but single women in particular.
 
And, like minority voters, while unmarried women tend to lean Democratic, they’re also disinclined to vote in midterm elections.
 
Democrats have been accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women” since 2010, citing their opposition, for example, to enforcement of equal pay, or restrictions on access to abortions.
 
The anti-woman label is especially toxic in New Hampshire, which has an impressive record of electing women. Four years ago, New Hampshire became the first state in US history to have a statelegislature comprised mostly of women. It currently has the first ever all-woman congressional delegation – and a female governor.
 
The Brown campaign, with some justification, believe the anti-women accusation is an unfair slur on his name. Unusually for a Republican, Brown is pro-choice, mostly supports access to birth control, and recently denounced a supreme court decision that critics say allows anti-abortion activists to intimidate women when they visit clinics.
 
But Brown has an Achilles heel, left exposed by a second, more high-profile supreme court decision: the judgment in favour of the Christian, family-run business Hobby Lobby.
 
A majority of justices ruled that companies like Hobby Lobby can, on religious grounds, deny their employees insurance coverage for some types of birth control.
 
The ruling was a setback for Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but was far less consequential than a piece of legislation – the so-called Blunt Amendment – which Brown championed as a senator in 2012.
 
That legislation would have gone further than the supreme court ruling in allowing employers to use religious exemptions to opt out of providing coverage for a wide range of health services – even, critics say, preventive care and mammograms.
 
In the Massachusetts race, Warren used Brown's support for the controversial amendment as evidence of his hostility to women. She won the election decisively, and exit polls showed Brown lost the women's vote by 18 points. He recently told Ellen Kolb, a pro-life blogger, that his support for the Blunt Amendment "cost me the election" in Massachusetts.
 
The Hobby Lobby verdict has reignited the issue, and the Brown campaign's reaction has been stumbling. It took several hours to respond to the judgment earlier this month, eventually releasing a vague, two-line statement that shed no real light on his position.
 
Asked about the issue on a local radio station days later, Brown appeared to back the Hobby Lobby ruling when he said he supported religious freedom "even though that may be out of touch with social opinion". But it was still unclear where he stood. "The court made their decision and we’ll see what happens thereafter,” he said.
 
'You’re getting in the face of people that don’t care to talk to you'
 
I decided to find Brown – whose wife, Gail, is a former TV journalist – on the campaign trail, and ask him to clarify his stance. That, it turned out, was easier said than done.
 
While an inquiring member of the public will be told about Brown's forthcoming campaign stops, the schedule is kept secret from anyone who, like me, self-identifies as a journalist. Fortunately, I received a tip-off that Brown would be appearing later in the day at a diner 100 miles north, in the foothills of the White Mountains.
 
I found Brown at a table at a restaurant called Priscilla's, introduced myself as a Guardian reporter and enquired if I could ask him some questions. Brown smiled nervously and replied: "What do you want to ask me about?"
 
"Hobby Lobby? That would be a start," I said.
 
“I’m all set," he replied. "We’re enjoying ourselves right now.”
 
“But you’re standing for Senate. It is routine for journalists to ask you questions and usually the candidates answer.”
 
“Not without notifying my office."
 
Brown stood up, walked to the back of the diner, and took shelter in the bathroom. A campaign aide, Jeremy, looked bewildered. He lingered beside me for a few moments, before politely excusing himself – “Nice to meet you” – and joining his boss in the bathroom.
 
I decided to wait in the parking lot for Team Brown to emerge into the sunlight. Four minutes later, a white SUV swung round and parked next to the steps of the diner. Brown came out with a phone pressed to his ear. "Get in! Get in!" said a campaign worker holding open the car door. Another man asked me to leave. “You’re getting in the face of people that don’t care to talk to you,” he said.
 
That, I explained, is what journalists must sometimes do. We’re used to politicians giving us evasive answers. But we don’t expect them to run away from questions – unless, that is, they’re in crisis mode.
 
The truth is the fallout from the Hobby Lobby ruling puts Brown in a tight spot.
 
Shaheen, who in 1999, as New Hampshire governor, signed a law requiring insurance companies to offer contraception coverage, has been quick to exploit her opponent's discomfort, and last week put her name to legislation that would undo the Hobby Lobby judgment.
 
"This is not just an issue about who makes those decisions," she told me. "It is also an economic issue, because when women are not able to get insurance coverage for contraceptives, they're paying more."
 
With Brown's primary more than six weeks away, he cannot afford to alienate pro-life Republican voters by altering his stance. At the same time, he is facing pressure from the upper ranks of his own campaign to do just that.
 
Julie Brown, a senior Republican figure in the state who the candidate chose as the co-chair of his Women for Brown leadership team, believes he is wrong about religious exemptions to contraceptive coverage.
 
"A woman chooses what she decides to do with her body – it is between the woman, her doctor and her God," she told me.
 
Her view was shared by “many, many” women in the state, she said, adding that she planned to discuss the contraception issue with Brown in the coming days.
 
I asked if she thought he needed to change his policy. "I think he should, yes," she replied.
 
"I will discuss it with him,” she added. “I give anybody credit who changes their mind."
 
'I’m not making any more news'
 
With Brown's own ambassador to women urging a U-turn on such a critical issue, I thought I should try, once again, to press the candidate on where, precisely, he currently stands.
 
His next campaign stop, I was told, would take place three hours later, on the second floor of the Hobbs Tavern and Brewery, in West Ossipee. I was at the tavern, mingling with about a dozen locals, when the candidate arrived. Brown walked up the stairs, spotted me in the audience, frowned, turned around and walked back downstairs.
 
Jeremy, looking even more anxious than he did at Priscilla's, took me to a corner and told me that while I could witness Brown's electioneering, under no circumstances was I permitted to ask questions.
 
I was explaining to Jeremy that Senate candidates don’t get to dictate when and where journalists ask them questions, when Brown re-emerged. Gruffly, he told me I had intruded in a private event. He was not going to answer my questions about Hobby Lobby. "I’m not making any more news," he explained. "You’re being unprofessional and you’re being rude."
 
A large man with chest hair poking out of his shirt put it more bluntly. “You have to go,” he said. “We can either do this the right way, or we can do this the wrong way.”
 
“What is the wrong way?” I asked. “I don’t want you to find out," he said.
 
I left the campaign event in the company of the tavern's owner. He and I were talking on the porch, several minutes later, when a police car pulled up.
 
I don't know if Officer Valley, from the Ossipee Police Department, had ever before been called to deal with an errant reporter. I do know he walked up to the porch with an amused look on his face. “How you doing?” he said, shaking everyone's hand. “What’s up?”
 
None of the parties disputed the facts of the case. I was the journalist. My job was to ask questions. The man holed up inside the tavern was Scott Brown, a would-be senator who didn’t want to answer. I was eventually asked to leave. I left.
 
Officer Valley mulled over the situation before delivering his summary judgment. “There’s no crime,” he said. “No issue here at all.”
 
Three days later, in response to continued questions about Brown’s position on Hobby Lobby, his press secretary, Elizabeth Guyton, emailed a response.
 
It was the same statement as the one the campaign released the day after the Hobby Lobby decision. It avoids any reference to the supreme court ruling.
 
“Scott Brown supports women's healthcare and access to contraception, but by injecting government into every aspect of our lives, Obamacare threatens all our freedoms,” Guyton said. “The best solution is to repeal it."
 

Friday
Jul112014

NHDP - Walt Havenstein Praised the Hobby Lobby Decision

Would He Favor Dismantling NH's Contraception Mandate Too? 

 
And Where Does He Stand on Proposed Legislation to Protect Women's Health Care?  
 
Concord, NH -  Last week, Walt Havenstein praised the Supreme Court's far-right Hobby Lobby decision and showed once again that he can’t be trusted to protect a woman’s right to affordable health care. Only days before, Walt announced his opposition to buffer zone laws that protect women and workers at reproductive health clinics.
 
Here in New Hampshire, we have had on the books a bipartisan law requiring all state-regulated health insurance plans to include contraceptive coverage since 1999. So would Walt Havenstein favor dismantling our state-level protections ensuring women receive coverage that meets their full range of health needs regardless of anyone else's religious beliefs? And what does Havenstein have to say about proposed legislation introduced yesterday, and co-sponsored by Senator Shaheen, that would protect women's health care from employer interference?
 
"Given Havenstein's history of disturbing statements on women's health issues and his support for the Hobby Lobby decision that allows bosses to deny women health insurance that covers their full health needs, including contraception, Granite Staters have a right to know what other positions Havenstein holds that undermine a woman's right to make her own health decisions," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. "When it comes to our state's own contraception mandate and proposed legislation in Congress to restore comprehensive health coverage for all women, voters deserve to know if Havenstein will once again side with his far-right Republican backers."
 
BACKGROUND
 
Havenstein Champions Limiting Access to "Life-Saving" Aspect of Women's Health Care. "Contraceptive services are a fundamental and at times life-saving aspect of women’s health care. By ruling the way it did, the Supreme Court has opened the door for religion and politics to control access to those services. Despite their protestations to the contrary, that is exactly what Brown and Havenstein are championing." [Concord Monitor Editorial, 7/2/14]
 
Havenstein Praises Supreme Court's Decision on the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law. "Havenstein praised the court’s decision and condemned the New Hampshire law Gov. Maggie Hassan signed that takes effect on July 10." [Nashua Telegraph, June 30, 2014]
 
Havenstein Confided To Republican Backers That He Is Pro-Life. The Union Leader reported on Havenstein’s stance on women’s issues saying, “‘It’s his first campaign mistake,’ said former Gov. Stephen Merrill, who was beside Havenstein last week at his campaign kickoff. Merrill said the candidate told him he is personally pro-life and as governor would support a ban on late-term abortions and a requirement for parental notification.” [Union Leader4/21/14]
 
Havenstein Was Unwilling To Comment On Anti-Choice Bills Before The Legislature. According to the Union Leader, Walt Havenstein’s campaign would not answer a series of questions pertaining to Havenstein’s stance on various bills being discussed in the legislature. [Union Leader4/21/14]
Thursday
Jul032014

NHDP - Marilinda Garcia Would Make NH Women Second Class Citizens 

Opposed to Choice, Affordable Health Services, Equal Pay and Contraceptive Coverage
 
 
Concord, NH--This week, Marilinda Garcia proclaimed that she was "thrilled" with the far-right conservative wing of the US Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which takes health care decisions away from women, and puts them in the hands of their employers. But as far as Garcia is concerned, this should just be the beginning. She wants to eliminate all choice, as well as equal pay protections, and--of course--all contraceptive coverage. 
 
“Marilinda Garcia would put women in New Hampshire in danger of moving backward to a time when they were treated as second-class citizens. Her extreme far-right positions put women's rights in danger, and would negatively impact all New Hampshire families,” explained New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. “She has voted to completely defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health services to thousands of New Hampshire women, to deny women choice when it comes to their personal health decisions, and now she is aligning herself with Judges Alito and Scalia, who believe a woman should have to consult her boss when it comes to contraceptives. Women and families across the state are appalled--and they should be."
 
In addition to her wildly out of touch views on women’s health issues Garcia also opposes Equal Pay and Paycheck Fairness legislation, the Violence Against Women Act, and has voted against raising the minimum wage, which would largely benefit female workers. When asked her position on Paycheck Fairness legislation Garcia said, “if it is true that women do earn less than men, that could be the case--but in general I don’t support things that basically, allow for a more litigious society than we already have and I think this puts the employer at a disadvantage.”

“Marilinda Garcia has a disturbing inclination to side against progress for women at every turn. Come November, New Hampshire women, young people, and working families won't be able to run from her fast enough.  Because she would see every major victory in women’s protections in the workplace and access to health care rolled back,” finished McClain.