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Abortion Issue Is Tricky In Massachusetts Senate Race

Advocacy groups on opposite sides of the abortion  issue have endorsed candidates in the special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.  Candidates  who favor limiting abortion rights have historically not done well in Massachusetts.

       Three of the candidates running for the Senate in Massachusetts have stated unequivocal positions on the issue of abortion rights.  Two other candidates have staked out greyer areas. The differences don’t divide along party lines.

       Democratic Congressman Edward Markey,  who  early  during his 36- year career in Washington supported a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, has since become a solid supporter of  abortion rights. Markey has been endorsed by both NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund. 

       Tricia Wadja, the spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, said it is significant that these are national endorsements.

       Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch  opposes abortion, but in interviews since entering the Senate race has said he won’t  do anything to roll back abortion rights.

       Democratic political consultant Mike Shea said  the April 30th primary is likely to attract core Democrats who are strong supporters of abortion rights

       Of the three Republican Senate candidates, State Rep. Daniel Winslow has said he is the only candidate from either party that has supported abortion rights throughout his political career.

               Businessman and former Navy Seal Gabriel Gomez is in that grey area occupied by Lynch. Gomez, as a Catholic, opposes abortion, but said he would not change current laws .

       Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, a Republican, is the only candidate in the race who has taken a strong anti-abortion stand. Massachusetts Citizens For Life President Ann Fox said the organization’s PAC has formally endorsed Sullivan and will work to get out the vote for him in the Republican primary.

       Republicans who have won election to statewide office in Massachusetts in the last 20 years have been fiscal conservatives but social moderates who supported abortion rights like William Weld and Paul Cellucci.  Still Fox believes an anti-abortion candidate can win the race to replace now Secretary of State John Kerry.

       Massachusetts Citizens For Life endorsed Scott Brown in last year’s election, even though the former Republican senator described himself as “pro-choice”    Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who defeated Brown, hammered him repeatedly during the campaign about votes he cast that she said made him undependable when it came to women’s rights.  One example was Brown’s support for an exemption on religious or moral grounds to a requirement that employer provided health insurance cover birth control.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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