Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren hit Senator Scott Brown today for supporting a bill that would restore conscience protections Americans had prior to the passage of Obamacare. "I am shocked that Senator Brown jumped in to support such an extreme measure,” Warren told the Washington Post's Greg Sargent. “This is an all new attack on health care. Any insurance company could leave anyone without health care, just when they need it most.”

Tonight, Scott Brown hit back. "It's elitist for Elizabeth Warren to dictate to religious people about what they should believe and how they should act. She wants to use the power of government to force Catholics to violate the teachings of their faith. That is wrong. One of our most fundamental rights as a people is the freedom of religion. Like Ted Kennedy, I support a religious conscience exemption in health care," Brown said in a statement released by his Senate office. "In his 2009 letter to Pope Benedict XVI, Senator Kennedy expressed his support for a conscience exemption, writing: 'I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health care field and will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone.'"

Some Democrats and liberals have speculated that Republicans might run away from this fight after President Obama trotted out a phony compromise Friday night, but Scott Brown is doing precisely the opposite. He's tackling the issue head on.

Then again, he's been down this road before. During his 2010 Senate campaign, Democrats savagely and dishonestly attacked him over his vote for conscience protections in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Democratic Party allged in one mailer that "1,736 women were raped in Massachusetts in 2008. Scott Brown wants hospitals to turn them all away."

His 2010 Democratic opponent Martha Coakley defended her criticism of Brown's support for conscience protections by arguing that Catholics "probably shouldn't work in the emergency room."

As you may recall, Brown defeated Coakley 52 percent to 47 percent.

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