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Issues in the Senate race

By Stephanie Ebbert
Globe Staff / January 18, 2010

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In the short sprint to tomorrow's special election, Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley have voiced increasingly divergent viewpoints on issues from war and spending to abortion and health care. Here's a look at the stances taken by Brown, a state senator from Wrentham, and Coakley, of Medford, the state's attorney general.

FEDERAL HEALTH CARE PLAN
Brown opposes. Pledges to be the key 41st vote against it. Supported Massachusetts' law expanding health care coverage to nearly all state residents but proposes to let a health board review and reconsider benefits that have been mandated by the Legislature since then.

Coakley Supports. Opposed House amendment that would restrict abortion access but supports Senate version, which would keep funding separate.

ABORTION
Brown supports Roe v. Wade, Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, and strong parental notification law on abortion. Proposed an amendment to a bill requiring hospitals to offer rape victims emergency contraception, allowing health care workers to opt out based on their beliefs. Brown then voted for the bill without the amendment.

Coakley supports Roe v. Wade. Opposes Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. Volunteered as a lawyer to help young women without parental consent get court orders allowing abortions. As attorney general, sued the Bush administration over regulations that would protect health care workers who refuse to provide services or prescriptions on religious grounds.

AFGHANISTAN
Brown supports President Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops.

Coakley opposes president's plan, saying efforts should be focused on areas where Al Qaeda is now.

ECONOMY
Brown opposes tighter regulation of the financial industry.

Coakley supports new, tighter regulation on financial industry.

ENVIRONMENT
Brown opposes the wind farm proposed off Cape Cod. Opposes a federal cap and trade plan to limit greenhouse gases though as a lawmaker, he voted for Massachusetts to join a similar regional plan.

Coakley supports the wind farm. Supports a national cap and trade program on greenhouse gases.

TAXES
Brown opposes President Obama's proposal to tax large financial institutions to recoup taxpayers' investment in the economic recovery, saying raising taxes will kill jobs. Wants to extend Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers and reduce tax rates across the board.

Coakley supports President Obama's proposal to tax large financial institutions to recoup taxpayers' investment in the economic recovery. Supports letting Bush tax cuts on the top 2 percent of taxpayers expire.

TERRORISM
Brown supports waterboarding to get information from suspected terrorists. Opposes legal representation for alleged terrorists in civilian courts and wants them tried as enemy combatants in military tribunals.

Coakley opposes waterboarding. Supports trials for suspected terrorists in civilian courts, pointing to the consecutive life sentences that shoe bomber Richard Reid is serving after trial in federal court in Boston.