ABORTION: Hot Button Issue In Boxer-Fong Debate
"In a wide-ranging but relatively tame debate" yesterday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) and Republican challenger Matt Fong "squared off" over several issues, including abortion. When asked whether he was 'pro-choice' or 'pro-life,' Fong "refused to use either term," the Sacramento Bee reports. "I'm not going to play the label game," he said (Capps, 8/27). But staunchly pro-choice Boxer attempted to draw distinctions between her views on abortion and those of Fong. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Boxer "slammed" Fong -- who "has been dodging the abortion question for years" -- for his support of a ban on government funding of abortions and parental consent for women under 18 who want an abortion. "There is only one law ... that protects a woman's right to choose: It's Roe vs. Wade. If you have a senator who doesn't believe in Roe, Roe will be unraveled," she said. Fong, citing his status as an adopted child as a factor in his abortion views, said "that he respected a woman's right to choose an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy 'in concert with her doctor and her God, but indiscriminate abortions of the kind that Barbara Boxer supports are wrong.'" He said, "I will always look for ways to make the choice of life in unwanted pregnancies easier" (Wildermuth, 8/27). The New York Times reports that as the candidates "traded jabs over abortion," Fong "accused" Boxer of trying to "scare women" (Purdum, 8/27).
The Los Angeles Times reports that both candidates tried to appear moderate, and on the abortion issue Fong did a "scurry for the center, stating an approximately pro-choice position" (Barabak, 8/27). The Washington Post reports that Boxer's strategy "is to characterize Fong as a member of the right wing of the GOP" on abortion and other issues. "I think his views will take us back, back to the old days," she said (Booth, 8/27).