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Why We Must Elect Rep. Ed Markey to the U.S. Senate

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Elizabeth Shipp is political director of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

There's an exciting special election coming up in Massachusetts that will make a big difference in women's lives.

Now that John Kerry is Secretary of State, voters in the Bay State are going to have to decide who will represent them in the U.S. Senate.

While we handed anti-choice lawmakers significant losses in the 2012 election cycle, it hasn't stopped the anti-choice politicians who remain from continuing their attacks on women's reproductive rights. That's why we must ensure the Senate continues to serve as the firewall against an agenda that categorically undermines women's access to abortion and even birth control.

The next senator from Massachusetts will have a chance to cast a lot of votes on choice, and that's why I'm so proud that our PAC has endorsed pro-choice Rep. Ed Markey. Rep. Markey is the only candidate in this race who women can trust to defend their reproductive rights.

Here are the top things you need to know about Rep. Markey:

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Rep. Markey voted against the Stupak amendment. Although it was ultimately stopped in the Senate (thank you, firewall!), the U.S. House of Representatives disappointed women across the country by voting to ban abortion coverage in Obamacare. Rep. Markey stood firm against the attack.

Rep. Markey opposed attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. Remember when Speaker John Boehner was ready to shut the government down in order to defund Planned Parenthood? It was a terrible day when the House voted to take away women's access to cancer screenings and birth control at their local Planned Parenthood. Fortunately, Rep. Markey would have none of that.

Rep. Markey said "no" to the War on Women in Congress. When I say that Speaker Boehner did all that he could to restrict women's access to abortion and birth control in 2011, I'm not exaggerating. That is the year the House voted eight times on choice-related bills. Rep. Markey voted against every single one.

Rep. Markey supports Obamacare. In addition to his pro-choice record, Rep. Markey is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, which will bring 30 million Americans into a health-care system that includes affordable family-planning services, better access to contraception, and maternity care.

Rep. Markey is proudly pro-choice. When we announced our PAC's endorsement of his campaign, he said, "I am proud to have NARAL Pro-Choice America endorse my candidacy. I strongly support a woman's right to choose and believe women should have access to the full range of reproductive health care choices. With reproductive rights under constant attack, women across the country and in Massachusetts need a champion on these issues in the Senate. I've spent three decades fighting for women's freedom of choice, and I will continue this track record if elected to the Senate."

There's no question about it. Voters who want someone in the Senate who's going to keep fighting to protect women's right to safe, legal abortion, improve women's access to birth control, and fund honest sex education for young people need to vote for Ed Markey on April 30.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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