Time's Scherer Hits Coakley for Misleading 'Gutter' Politics On Emergency Contraception Ads

While the broadcast and cable news media have paid plenty of attention to Martha Coakley's embarrassing Curt Schilling gaffe, much less attention has been paid to more serious matters that exemplify Coakley's hard-left campaigning tactics, such as her insulting devout Catholics as unfit for working in emergency rooms or insisting that Scott Brown wants to "turn away" rape victims from hospitals. [image at right via William Jacobson's Legal Insurrection blog]

It's that sort of insane, false hyperbole that has even Democrat-friendly media outlets like Time magazine reeling, even if the broadcast networks are asleep at the switch.

Take for example Michael Scherer's January 17 blog post at the magazine's Swampland blog (emphasis mine):

The pressure is intense in Massachusetts, and the stakes could not be higher for all Democrats. But Martha Coakley and the Democratic Party have begun to push the boundaries of fair play. Here is what we have gotten in the last week from Democrats who are trying to tarnish Scott Brown's reputation among women voters:

--A direct mail piece from the state Democratic Party that announces: “1,736 Women Were Raped In Massachusetts in 2008; Scott Brown Wants Hospitals To Turn Them All Away.”

--An ad by Coakley that flashes the words, “Deny rape victims care,” with a voiceover that announces, “Brown even favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims.”

Policy differences regarding emergency contraception for rape victims are, without question, fair game in a political contest. But on issues of such sensitivity, politicians have a responsibility to hew to the facts, and not inflame with false suggestions. Here is the amendment Scott Brown supported in April of 2005:

Nothing in this section shall impose any requirements upon any employee, physician or nurse of any facility to the extent that administering the contraception conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief. In determining whether an employee, physician or nurse of any facility has a sincerely held religious belief administering the contraception, the conflict shall be known and disclosed to said facility and on record at said facility.

If it is deemed that said employee, physician or nurse of any facility has a sincerely held religious conflict administering the contraception, then said treating facility shall have in place a validated referral procedure policy for referring patients for administration of the emergency contraception that will administer the emergency contraception, which may include a contract with another facility. The referrals shall be made at no additional cost to the patient.

The amendment failed, and Brown went on to vote for the underlying bill anyway.

Two key points to make here. First, nothing in the amendment says that hospitals should “Turn Them All Away.” In fact, the amendment requires that all hospitals either provide the emergency contraception treatment or arrange to provide it, on site or by referral at no cost to the patient. Second, the sort of care that Brown supports potentially delaying in deference to the religious views of health providers is limited to emergency contraception, which is not what the screen shot in the Coakley ad implies.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters