Republican Scott Brown charged Saturday that a Democratic mailing against his U.S. Senate campaign violates a Massachusetts law prohibiting false statements against a political candidate.
The cover of a four-page mailer sent by the Massachusetts Democratic Party says, "1,736 women were raped in Massachusetts in 2008. Scott Brown wants hospitals to turn them all away."
Brown is a state senator, and in 2005 he filed an amendment that would have allowed workers at religious hospitals or with firmly held religious beliefs to avoid giving emergency contraception to rape victims. The amendment failed, and Brown voted in favor of a bill allowing the contraception. He also voted to override a veto issued by his fellow Republican, then-Gov. Mitt Romney.
A section of the Massachusetts General Laws prohibits false statements against political candidates that are designed or tend "to aid or to injure or defeat such candidate," with a penalty of to $1,000 fine and up to six months in prison.
Brown campaign legal counsel Daniel Winslow said, "People can shade things and spin things, but it has to have some kernel of truth."
Brown is locked in a dead heat with Democrat Martha Coakley, the state's attorney general, in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Independent Joseph L. Kennedy, who is not related to the famed Kennedy political family, is also on Tuesday's ballot.
Winslow called on the Democratic Party and the Coakley campaign to disavow the mailer's claim. The Brown campaign plans to wait until Tuesday, the next business day, before seeking a legal remedy, he said.
Coakley campaign spokesman Corey Welford said: "This is a failed attempt by his campaign to divert attention from the fact that Scott Brown filed an amendment that would have prevented women who have been raped from getting the health care that they need."
A party spokeswoman did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.
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