It’s only January of 2015 but the 2016 election cycle has already begun. Today, Senator Barbara Boxer of California became the first senator to announce her retirement at the end of her current term. Boxer earned a harrowing reputation as one of the U.S. Senate’s most outspoken abortion advocates. According to National Right to Life, Boxer voted against all limitations on abortion during a congressional career that has spanned more than three decades.
One of Senator Boxer’s most infamous moments came during the debate over the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion on October 20, 1999. In an exchange with then-Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Boxer asserted that she believes life begins when the baby comes from the hospital.
“I think when you bring your baby home, when your baby is born — and there is no such thing as partial-birth — the baby belongs to your family and has all the rights.”
Sen. Santorum pressed her further on the issue, “I ask the senator from California, again: you believe, you said ‘once the baby comes home.’ Obviously, you don’t mean they have to take the baby out of the hospital for it to be protected by the Constitution. Once the baby is separated from the mother, you would agree — completely separated from the mother — you would agree that baby is entitled to constitutional protection?”
The exchange continued with Boxer refusing to precisely draw a line between abortion and infanticide.
Boxer: I will answer the question when the baby is born. The baby is born when the baby is outside the mother’s body. The baby is born.
Santorum: I am not going to put words in your mouth –
Boxer: I hope not.
Santorum: But, again, what you are suggesting is if the baby’s toe is inside the mother, you can, in fact, kill that baby.
Boxer: Absolutely not.
Santorum: OK. So if the baby’s toe is in, you can’t kill the baby. How about if the baby’s foot is in?
Boxer: You are the one who is making these statements.
Santorum: We are trying to draw a line here.
Boxer: I am not answering these questions! I am not answering these questions.
The legislation protecting unborn children from the partial-birth abortion procedure ultimately passed, was signed into law by President George W. Bush and was later upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart case.
Sen. Boxer’s abortion advocacy didn’t end there. In 2013, Boxer opposed a resolution calling for hearings in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell horrors in Philadelphia. Boxer claimed the problems at the Gosnell abortion facility were really no different than problems at any other medical clinic. Abortionist Gosnell and his associates were later convicted of murder on several counts and a host of other charges.
Most recently, Boxer vocally opposed legislation to protect pain-capable unborn children at twenty weeks and older from excruciating late abortions. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which polls have shown over 60% of Americans support, was labeled “extreme and dangerous” by Sen. Boxer.
Speculation over who may run to replace Boxer is all over the map. On the Democratic side, names being floated include Attorney General Kamala Harris, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. For Republicans, eyes are on former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who challenged Boxer in 2010. Although some believe Fiorina may be eying a run for the White House in 2016, not the U.S. Senate.