GOP Sen. Brown opposes Planned Parenthood cuts

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) said Tuesday he does not support a GOP proposal to slash funding for Planned Parenthood, saying the cuts go too far. 

Brown is the second GOP senator to oppose the measure, which House Republicans want to attach to a long-term spending bill.

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"I support family planning and health services for women," Brown said in a statement. "Given our severe budget problems, I don't believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far."

House Republicans have pushed for language cutting $300 million in federal aid and grants to Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions. The federal Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding for abortion services, but anti-abortion rights activists and conservative lawmakers insist federal money that goes to Planned Parenthood for contraception and other reproductive health services could help indirectly fund abortions. 

It is not clear from Brown's statement whether his opposition would lead him to vote against a spending bill that included the ban on Planned Parenthood funding. Brown voted in early March for the House Republican long-term continuing resolution that contained the cuts and did not specify how he would vote if it came up again.

"As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise that is reasonable and appropriate," he said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has also said she opposes cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has voiced support for keeping funding for another family planning program.

Brown is up for reelection next year, and his stance could win support from Massachusetts voters, who are generally seen as liberal on social issues. Brown is the only Republican in the state's congressional delegation. He was elected in 2010 to fill out the term of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) accused Brown of hypocrisy, since he voted for the original GOP spending bill including the cuts to Planned Parenthood.

"If Scott Brown felt this way, he should have shown some backbone and opposed these cuts in the first place," DSCC spokesman Matt Canter said in a statement. “Instead he did what he always does and stood in lock step with the Republican establishment in Washington, D.C."

-- This post was updated at 4:21 p.m.