Why is Carly Fiorina Lying About Barbara Boxer’s Position on Choice?

Jodi Jacobson

Carly Fiorina has made clear she is anti-choice, and takes positions that would outlaw contraception as well as put women's lives in immediate danger.  Now she is lying about Boxer's position.

This article is cross-posted from MsRepresentation, a project of the Women’s Campaign Forum for which I am a guest author.

It’s no secret that a number of women running for office in the 2010 elections are anti-choice.

There are the Palin acolytes, such as Christine O’Donnell, Nikki Haley, and Sharron Angle—the latter of whom thinks abortion should effectively be banned for any reason, including in cases of rape and incest.

And then there are the more mainstream candidates, like Carly Fiorina, challenging longtime women’s rights advocate Sen. Barbara Boxer.

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Fiorina obviously has many accomplishments to tout, including the fact that she was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) from 1999 to 2005 and worked in leadership positions at Lucent and AT&T.

She is, however, anti-choice.

Fiorina’s website says the following:

Carly believes that life begins at conception; she is pro-life. She earned an “A” rating from the National Right to Life Committee and has been backed by the Committee’s California affiliate, the California Pro-Life Council. Carly has also earned the endorsement of the Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life political action committee.

I don’t know if Fiorina is politicking or actually means what she says.  It’s difficult for me to understand how a woman at her level of professional achievement could, at this stage of her life, believe in laws that would effectively make most forms of contraception illegal.

Shall I take this to mean she has never used contraception herself?

By stating that you believe “life begins at conception” as a political position—not a personal belief—and touting your cred with NRLC and SBAL means just that. These are groups that hold the most extreme positions on contraception and other issues, such as abortion in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother; on whether a woman who is pregnant and facing life-threatening conditions such as cancer has the right to chemotherapy, and on and on.

Today, for example, extreme anti-choice forces in Colorado are attempting round 2 of the so-called “personhood” amendment (Amendment 62) about which I have written extensively elsewhere.  If passed, this law would confer full human rights on fertilized eggs, before a pregnancy is even established.  The rights of this fertilized egg would then trump the rights of the woman.  The consequences are truly out of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.

Fiorina’s curious political position on choice is one thing.  It is yet another that she is lying about Barbara Boxer’s position.

She is quoted—and praised—by LifeSite News (a virulently anti-woman, anti-choice site) as saying:

Well, I personally am pro-life,” Fiorina said Monday on CNN’s Situation Room. “And I know that not all women agree with me. But it is Barbara Boxer who is extreme in her views here. She supports partial-birth abortion. She says that babies don’t have rights until they leave hospitals.”

Barbara Boxer supports Roe v. Wade. Roe confers rights on fetus at viability, which obviously is reached well before a baby is born, much less “leaving the hospital.”  Fiorina is in effect claiming that Boxer supports infanticide. That is what her remark boils down to.

Moreover, there is no such thing as “partial-birth abortion,” though we have a law against it; it’s not a medical procedure. It is a political construct created to limit access to late abortions, which make up less than one percent of all abortions in the United States, and the vast majority of which are carried out either because the woman’s life is in imminent danger or, more likely, because a very wanted pregnancy has turned tragic.

These comments are a deeply disturbing misrepresentation by Fiorina, someone who I would have thought had enough smarts to try to win an election on its merits, not on lies.

We like to look to women to change politics for the better.  Fiorina’s gross misrepresentation of Barbara Boxer’s position on choice reveals that this is not always the case.

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