Abortion Debate Driving Election Spending in California

By
Friday, September 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Social issues might be taking a back seat to health care and the deficit in a number of national races, but not so in California’s Senate race between Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. The Sunlight Foundation, which has undertaken a new project of tracking all independent expenditures (IE) made in the lead up to the 2010 election, reports that 87 percent of the IEs made in the race thus far have come from groups that advocate on abortion issues:

Among these two candidates, pro-life groups so far have spent $186,000, while pro-choice spending amounts to $41,000, according to a review of our independent expenditures database.

The pro-life group, the Susan B. Anthony List, has spent the most money on this issue in that race so far. They’ve invested $166,100 in buying web ads and paying for phone calls in support of Fiorina. They’ve also campaigned against Boxer with Google advertisements, spending $20,000. The National Right to Life committee spent $173 dollars for a newspaper ad supporting Fiorina, while the pro-choice group NARAL spent $38,700 opposing Carly Fiorina with print advertisements. NARAL has also spent $3,480 sending out print materials supporting Boxer.

Nationwide, the Susan B. Anthony List has spent over $465,000 on IEs to support four Republicans and attack seven Democrats, as well as launching a bus tour across Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania to make misleading attacks on pro-life House Democrats who voted for comprehensive health reform earlier this year. (The group claimed the House Democrats had effectively voted for federal funding of abortion, even though this is not the case.)

California would seem like a strange place for these groups to be launching a social-issues based campaign. A socially liberal state facing a massive fiscal crisis would seem more receptive to a candidate who touted their fiscal over their social conservatism. But groups like SBA List are energized over Fiorina’s strong anti-abortion views, which she successfully employed in the primary to propel herself over a tea party backed candidate:

In its campaign material, the SBA List calls Fiorina the candidate whom anti-abortion activists have “been waiting for since the day Barbara Boxer was elected.” The reason, [SBA President Marjorie] Dannenfelser said, is that Fiorina would shatter a stereotype — that successful women, naturally, have to be in favor of abortion rights.

“If you were a strong woman in politics or corporate life,” Dannenfelser said, “most people assumed you were going to be pro-choice. That’s a fading stereotype, but apart from Sarah Palin there are not many prominent women who are challenging it yet. We hoped Elizabeth Dole could do that — she was pro-life, but she wasn’t very vocal about it.”

While it helped Fiorina win the primary, such a stance makes her path to a general election victory in California all the more difficult.

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51 Comments

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Comment posted September 24, 2010 @ 8:23 pm

Why are we still bringing this issue up. It is the law. It has been the law since the 70's. Tackle today's issues and stop this nonsense. I am so sick of these people telling me what my rights are, I already know my rights and I will keep them, Thank you very much. Why aren't they spending money on the kids born into poverty, have limited health coverage, poor education. All of these babies need help, you said they have to be born, so who supports them. Apparently not these groups or politicians. Just me the lowly abortion loving tax payer….


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Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 6:52 am

Why are we still bringing this issue up. It is the law. It has been the law since the 70's. Tackle today's issues and stop this nonsense. I am so sick of these people telling me what my rights aryour comment here.


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Comment posted March 6, 2011 @ 8:19 am

In 1956, the school attended a film at Zarqa-Jordan. The film was about King Hussein of Jordan to the USA visit. When Eisenhower was president. The first time I heard about America. That memory remained in my mind and pushed me all times to achieve my stay in life at the United States of America. It’s too strange for a 11 years old person to love America from that time.


Susan B Anthony Coin
Comment posted March 6, 2011 @ 8:19 am

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