Scott Brown this week repeatedly passed on discussing a bill he reportedly co-sponsored as a Massachusetts state legislator requiring women to wait 24 hours before an abortion and examine illustrations of fetal development before receiving it, telling an interviewer he couldn’t remember the legislation in question.
The exchange, an audio clip of which was provided to msnbc by Democratic super PAC American Bridge, came during an onstage interview with at University of New Hampshire Law School on Monday with NHPR reporter Laura Knoy. Brown, a Republican who lost re-election to the Senate from Massachusetts in 2012, is now challenging Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire.
“I’m not familiar with the specific bill that you’re referring to,” Brown said in response to a question from Knoy about the Women’s Right To Know Act. “I’m not sure if it’s wrong, but I’ve voted on probably 8,000 bills give or take in my lifetime.”
Knoy followed up by asking whether Brown thought the waiting period and information session provisions “sound like a good idea.”
Brown described himself as a “pro-choice independent Republican” and elaborated on his broader view of abortion and contraception access. But he didn’t address the specific legislation Knoy raised. Knoy followed up again citing the bill by name and asking “Does that sound like a reasonable thing to you?” Brown replied that he would need more information.
“Once again, I’m not familiar with what you’re referring to,” he said.
EMILY’s List, which supports Democratic women who favor abortion rights, has cited Brown’s support for the Women’s Right To Know bill as evidence of an “anti-woman record.”
The legislation came up in passing during each of Brown’s previous two Senate runs in Massachusetts as well. In 2012, the Boston Globe noted that “Brown cosponsored the Women’s Right to Know Act, which would require women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the development of their fetus” after a Massachusetts pro-life group endorsed his campaign. During his campaign to finish out the term of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy in 2010, the Boston Globe reported that Brown “angered abortion-rights groups with acts like his co-sponsorship of the Women's Right to Know Act,” in an article assessing his and then-opponent Martha Coakley’s abortion positions.
Msnbc reached out to a Brown campaign spokeswoman by e-mail to clarify whether Brown supported the Women's Right To Know Act's provisions, but did not immediately receive a response.