Huffpost Politics

Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren Duel Over Obama Contraception Mandate

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The Massachusetts U.S. Senate race between sitting Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren has reached a new frontier: the Boston Globe op-ed page.

The two have dueling op-eds in Friday's Globe over the Obama administration's contraception rule, requiring the health plans of most religiously-affiliated employers to cover contraception in their health plans. The Obama administration revised the rule allowing faith-based employers to shift the cost of contraceptive coverage to insurers if the employer morally objects to the rule.

"The federal government is now saying to religious hospitals and charities, 'Just do what you’re told, and leave the moral questions to us.' This over-reaching dictation from Washington is one reason I opposed and voted to repeal ObamaCare," writes Brown.

He later invokes the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose seat he won, as agreeing with him on a conscience exemption for Catholics in health care, citing a letter hand-delivered by President Barack Obama to Pope Benedict XVI shortly before the senator died of brain cancer. Unlike Brown, Kennedy strongly supported Obama's health care reform push and declared that universal health care was "the cause of my life."

Warren writes, "Washington is so out of touch with what’s happening to families across this country that the Senate is about to vote on an amendment that would allow any insurance company or any employer to claim a vague 'moral conviction' as an excuse to deny you health care coverage." She continues, "Here’s the really astonishing news: Senator Scott Brown is not only voting for this amendment, he is fighting to get it passed."

Brown and Warren have been fighting over the contraception prior to Friday's op-eds. The two have both released radio ads on the issue. Warren, in her ad, calls Brown's cosponsoring of the Blunt amendment "plain wrong." The measure crafted by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) would allow health plans to deny coverage for any service that violates their beliefs. Brown claimed that Warren assumed the "mantle of the oppressor" in a statement.

Neither Brown nor Warren is a Catholic. Massachusetts has the second-highest percentage of Catholics in the country but is also among the least religious states, according to Gallup.

Polling shows that the race is tight; one recent survey showed Brown with a statistically significant lead, while another showed Warren with a statistically insignificant edge.

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