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.

News Politics

Missouri ‘Witch Hunt Hearings’ Modeled on Anti-Choice Congressional Crusade

Christine Grimaldi

Missouri state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) said the Missouri General Assembly's "witch hunt hearings" were "closely modeled" on those in the U.S. Congress. Specifically, she drew parallels between Republicans' special investigative bodies—the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Missouri Senate’s Committee on the Sanctity of Life.

Congressional Republicans are responsible for perpetuating widely discredited and often inflammatory allegations about fetal tissue and abortion care practices for a year and counting. Their actions may have charted the course for at least one Republican-controlled state legislature to advance an anti-choice agenda based on a fabricated market in aborted “baby body parts.”

“They say that a lot in Missouri,” state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) told Rewire in an interview at the Democratic National Convention last month.

Newman is a longtime abortion rights advocate who proposed legislation that would subject firearms purchases to the same types of restrictions, including mandatory waiting periods, as abortion care.

Newman said the Missouri General Assembly’s “witch hunt hearings” were “closely modeled” on those in the U.S. Congress. Specifically, she drew parallels between Republicans’ special investigative bodies—the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Missouri Senate’s Committee on the Sanctity of Life. Both formed last year in response to videos from the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from fetal tissue donations. Both released reports last month condemning the reproductive health-care provider even though Missouri’s attorney general, among officials in 13 states to date, and three congressional investigations all previously found no evidence of wrongdoing.

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Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R), the chair of the committee, and his colleagues alleged that the report potentially contradicted the attorney general’s findings. Schaefer’s district includes the University of Missouri, which ended a 26-year relationship with Planned Parenthood as anti-choice state lawmakers ramped up their inquiries in the legislature. Schaefer’s refusal to confront evidence to the contrary aligned with how Newman described his leadership of the committee.

“It was based on what was going on in Congress, but then Kurt Schaefer took it a step further,” Newman said.

As Schaefer waged an ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the Missouri Republican attorney general primary, the once moderate Republican “felt he needed to jump on the extreme [anti-choice] bandwagon,” she said.

Schaefer in April sought to punish the head of Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis affiliate with fines and jail time for protecting patient documents he had subpoenaed. The state senate suspended contempt proceedings against Mary Kogut, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, reaching an agreement before the end of the month, according to news reports.

Newman speculated that Schaefer’s threats thwarted an omnibus abortion bill (HB 1953, SB 644) from proceeding before the end of the 2016 legislative session in May, despite Republican majorities in the Missouri house and senate.

“I think it was part of the compromise that they came up with Planned Parenthood, when they realized their backs [were] against the wall, because she was not, obviously, going to illegally turn over medical records.” Newman said of her Republican colleagues.

Republicans on the select panel in Washington have frequently made similar complaints, and threats, in their pursuit of subpoenas.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the chair of the select panel, in May pledged “to pursue all means necessary” to obtain documents from the tissue procurement company targeted in the CMP videos. In June, she told a conservative crowd at the faith-based Road to Majority conference that she planned to start contempt of Congress proceedings after little cooperation from “middle men” and their suppliers—“big abortion.” By July, Blackburn seemingly walked back that pledge in front of reporters at a press conference where she unveiled the select panel’s interim report.

The investigations share another common denominator: a lack of transparency about how much money they have cost taxpayers.

“The excuse that’s come back from leadership, both [in the] House and the Senate, is that not everybody has turned in their expense reports,” Newman said. Republicans have used “every stalling tactic” to rebuff inquiries from her and reporters in the state, she said.

Congressional Republicans with varying degrees of oversight over the select panel—Blackburn, House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (MI)—all declined to answer Rewire’s funding questions. Rewire confirmed with a high-ranking GOP aide that Republicans budgeted $1.2 million for the investigation through the end of the year.

Blackburn is expected to resume the panel’s activities after Congress returns from recess in early September. Schaeffer and his fellow Republicans on the committee indicated in their report that an investigation could continue in the 2017 legislative session, which begins in January.

Analysis Politics

Timeline: Donald Trump’s Shifting Position on Abortion Rights

Ally Boguhn

Trump’s murky position on abortion has caused an uproar this election season as conservatives grapple with a Republican nominee whose stance on the issue has varied over time. Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul's changing views on abortion.

For much of the 2016 election cycle, Donald Trump’s seemingly ever-changing position on reproductive health care and abortion rights has continued to draw scrutiny.

Trump was “totally pro-choice” in 1999, but “pro-life” by 2011. He wanted to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood in August 2015, but claimed “you can’t go around and say that” about such measures two months later. He thinks Planned Parenthood does “very good work” but wants to see it lose all of its funding as long as it offers abortion care. And, perhaps most notoriously, in late March of this year Trump took multiple stances over the course of just a few hours on whether those who have abortions should be punished if it became illegal.

With the hesitancy of anti-choice groups to fully embrace Trump—and with pro-choice organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List all backing his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—it is likely his stance on abortion will remain a key election issue moving into November.

Join Rewire for a look back at the business mogul’s changing views on abortion.

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