Scott Brown latest in GOP to distance himself from ‘personhood’ issue

Scott Brown
Scott Brown at the New Hampshire GOP’s Salem headquarters. He is not the only Republican candidate who has distanced himself from the party’s “personhood” measures that would severely restrict abortion and contraception.
(Darren McCollester / Getty Images)

New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown has become the latest Republican to distance himself from an effort to support full human rights for individuals from conception onward.

At its convention over the weekend, the New Hampshire Republican Party adopted a platform that included the so-called personhood measure.

Critics of the measure argue that it would outlaw all abortions and some forms of contraception. The state’s Democratic incumbent, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, wasted no time in criticizing Brown, her challenger in one of the hottest races this year.

“The message from Scott Brown and his Republican Party is disturbing, alarming and clear: They believe they should make the decisions about birth control and healthcare for women in New Hampshire and around the country,” Shaheen said in a statement. “They are dangerously wrong.”


In an email Tuesday, Brown’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Guyton, said the former Massachusetts senator, who supports abortion rights, does not support the “personhood” part of the party’s new platform.  

In Colorado, two Republicans running in key races for the Senate and the House backed off their past support for state personhood measures.

Rep. Cory Gardner, who is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, previously supported statewide ballot initiatives - since defeated - that would have changed the state’s constitution to protect one’s rights from the point of conception.

But after weeks of negative ads from Udall’s campaign in the spring, the congressman reversed his position, saying he had been unaware the measures would make some forms of birth control illegal.


Rep. Mike Coffman, who also supported the prior measures, has joined Gardner in opposing a new personhood measure on November’s ballot.

In Iowa, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley is using a similar strategy in his race for an open Senate seat.

Last year, Braley’s Republican opponent, state Sen. Joni Ernst, sponsored an amendment to the state’s constitution that said “the inalienable right to life of every person at any stage of development shall be recognized and protected.”

The amendment failed to pass; Ernst has not backed away from her support.

Braley recently released an ad highlighting the issue. In the 30-second spot, a narrator calls the proposal “radical” and “wrong for Iowa.”

Follow @kurtisalee and email

Get our twice-weekly Politics newsletter