Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Barbara Boxer vs. Carly Fiorina: A Proxy War for the Abortion Debate?

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
Recent polling suggests it's a real possibility that California Sen. Barbara Boxer might lose to Carly Fiorina in November. A Boxer loss in a "safe" Democratic state like California would be a major symbolic loss for Democrats. It also would have major policy implications for the liberal agenda, including the always-with-us, hot-button issue of abortion.
For this reason, while the economy remains the No. 1 issue in the campaign, the abortion debate cannot be overlooked as it pertains to this race.
"Losing Barbara Boxer in the Senate would be a major blow for the pro-choice movement," says Amanda Terkel of the popular liberal blog, ThinkProgress. "Boxer has been fighting for women's rights since coming to the Senate in 1992, and she has remained one of the strongest voices advocating improved access to health care for women."
NARAL Pro-Choice California sounds worried about the possibility. Writing on its Web site, the group urged liberals to rally to Boxer, writing, "Pro-choice Americans may have no stronger ally in the U.S. Senate than Sen. Barbara Boxer . . . She is the leader who NARAL Pro-Choice America turns to when we need a fighter on the Senate floor."
Meanwhile, pro-lifers are excited about the possibility of scoring a major victory – both symbolically and substantively -- by ousting Boxer.
"Barbara Boxer has been the main spear carrier for pro-abortion forces for years -- whether it's defending partial-birth abortions or promoting abortion with taxpayer funds here and abroad," says Steven Ertelt, editor of "Boxer is such an abortion champion that defeating her with any pro-life candidate would be a crushing blow for the likes of Planned Parenthood, NARAL and Emily's List. But having a pro-life woman defeat Boxer sends a much bigger message: real advocates of women's rights are pro-life."
Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, believes a Boxer loss would imply a paradigm shift has taken place: "For Boxer to lose her election would be a radiant reflection of the fact that more Americans are themselves pro-life. It will no longer be assumed that women politicians have to embrace the worst abuse of unborn children to be elected," she says.
Boxer has not only been a pro-choice advocate, she has also been a vocal opponent of bans on partial-birth abortion – a procedure used specifically after the first trimester of pregnancy. Senate records indicate she has voted against such a ban no fewer than five times since 1994.
In December 1995, Boxer voted against a bill to penalize doctors who perform late-term abortions involving the partial delivery of a fetus prior to completion of the termination. She also voted against the Senate's subsequent attempt to override President Clinton's veto of a partial-birth abortion ban in 1996, despite the fact that the bill offered an exception when the procedure was necessary to save the life of the mother. Twelve Democrats voted to override the veto.
In November 1999, when a partial-birth abortion ban was under discussion in the Senate, Boxer debated then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in an exchange in which she appeared supportive of a position held by partial-birth abortion opponents -- that it was possible to kill a fetus that had not been fully extracted from the mother's body -- but nonetheless argued against a partial-birth abortion ban saying, "I agree with the Roe v. Wade decision. And what you are doing goes against it and will harm the women of this country."
Again, in 2003, when the Senate voted 64-34 for a ban on partial-birth abortion, Boxer voted against it.
Boxer repeatedly has referred to Fiorina's pro-life position as proof that Fiorina is "out of step" with most Californians.
However, there is some evidence of awareness by Boxer's campaign that Boxer may be too far to the left of even the California electorate.
During a recent Q&A session with reporters in San Francisco, Boxer said, in response to a question about abortion, that "to me, [the issue of abortion is] about whether or not a woman in an early stage of her pregnancy has the right to make her choice whether to have the child or not."
This implies Boxer only supports abortion during, perhaps, the first trimester of pregnancy. Could it be that Boxer is discovering that her position on abortion is also a bit "out of step"?

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.


Filter by:

Just a thought...Pro choice advocates are no different than NRA advocates. Any tampering with the right/law is seen as an infringement and will not/can not be tolerated. Just ask any gun owner how much interference/regulation they'll tolerate.

July 21 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Boxer forgets she along with her other Democratic Congress and Party and Obama are completely out of touch with the American people.

All of the above Left Wing Radicals step up their attacks and play their political games because their massive government spending is not working.

July 21 2010 at 5:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Barbara has been there WAY to long. Time for new blood. It's just that simple. Barbara acts as if she owns "her" position and doesn't seam to realize that We The People have been letting her use it. Although I believe that has been a mistake. Barbara continues to drift further from the center as time goes on representing her own concerns not those that elected her. Just like her counter parts in DC. It's time all of the old guard goes.

July 21 2010 at 1:15 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

What this displays, is, Americans are far more concerned about feeding their families, keeping their homes, paying their bills. While showing that political Parties seem to be "one trick ponies". They seize on the "hot button topic for votes". Well appear Ms. Boxers advisors missed that JOBs, and economy are first and fore front. I would urge voters (all ) to vote on the big picture. Not single issue as the pro choice people(And all other single cause groups) are pushing.If your candidate , regardless of political party, has abroader view of problems and solutions. Vote for them. But do not predicate your votes on a single issue.

July 21 2010 at 1:02 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
help me

boxer another life time politican that needs to go

July 21 2010 at 1:01 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Libs/Dems like to keep the abortion issue out front, as a scare tactic. Roe v Wade will never be overturned, and I say this as a PRO CHOICE Right leaning moderate. Women will always choose to have total say over what happens with/to their own bodies. It should never even have been considered a point of contention. There are Far Right and Far Left fringe groups who will fight over this issue until the day they die, but those of us who understand this conversation has no place on center stage will continue to focus on the BIG issues facing the American people.

July 21 2010 at 9:50 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>