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Fiorina's Pro-Choice Views are So Yesterday

June 10, 2010

Just a day after winning the Republican nomination for Senate in California, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina lost a contest with an open microphone. She inadvertently told the world that fellow Republican Meg Whitman's appearance on the Sean Hannity show was "bizarre" and that Democratic opponent Barbara Boxer's hair style is "so yesterday." But as it turns out, what is really so yesterday is Carly Fiorina moderate pro-choice position on abortion.
Like John McCain, the man she served so poorly as a campaign surrogate in 2008, Carly Fiorina made a hard right turn on abortion in order to pander to conservative GOP primary voters. On a page of her web site with the understated title, "Additional Issues," visitors learn that "Carly is Pro-Life":

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.

Of course, not so long ago, Carly Fiorina was singing a different tune on abortion. And to be sure, it didn't come from the hymnal of the social conservatives who now dominate the GOP.

In 2008, Fiorina's mission for the McCain campaign was, in essence, to con women voters about the Republican candidate's views on reproductive rights. She assured Americans that John McCain "has never signed on to efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade." (McCain abandoned that stand from the 2000 campaign in favor of the GOP's draconian 2008 platform which called for reversing Roe and a "human life amendment" to the Constitution.) Fiorina sparked another controversy when she raised the topic of Viagra in July 2008. As the Los Angeles Times reported:

"Let me give you a real, live example, which I've been hearing a lot about from women. There are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won't cover birth control medication. Those women would like a choice," she said.
But as the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America pointed out, McCain twice voted against measures that would have required insurers to cover birth control.

The same article also explained the apparent necessity for the Fiorina smoke-screen: "a survey conducted for NARAL confirmed that and suggested that Barack Obama gained when women learned of McCain's positions."
That was all too much to bear for the keepers of the faith at RedState. As Fiorina ramped up her own Senate campaign last year, Red State worried about the "unanswered questions" when it came to her anti-abortion bona fides. The site catalogued her sins, including Fiorina's use of the term "reproductive rights" at a September 2008 at a gathering in Minneapolis for business women attending the Republican National Convention. And as the San Jose Mercury News suggested in 2004, Carly Fiorina was for choice before she was against it:

A person familiar with Fiorina's intentions said she has long harbored a desire to get into politics, but doesn't want to reveal her aspirations because she doesn't want to be perceived as less than dedicated to her job at HP.
Republican insiders said Fiorina, whom they described as a moderate and pro-choice, is a rare breed, and she could have a bright future in politics.

At the end of the day, Carly Fiorina's open mic blunder isn't a big f**king deal like Ronald Reagan's joke that the U.S. would "begin bombing (Russia) in five minutes." But that 1984 episode was a generation ago. Doubtless, she would argue, this is all about today. And poltically speaking, Fiorina's seeming pro-choice past was, like, so yesterday.

One comment on “Fiorina's Pro-Choice Views are So Yesterday”


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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