Barbara Boxer on Abortion

Last Updated : Jun 23, 2010

Summary

Senator Boxer is vehemently pro-choice.  On her re-election website, she calls herself the Senate's leader in the fight to protect a woman's right to chose.  She is a strong supporter of Roe vs Wade.

Senator Boxer supports federal funding for abortions in health care legislation and at one point she noted that if federal health care plans limited abortion for women, then they should limit Viagra for men.  She stated that any attempt to limit health care coverage to abortion was disrespect to women.  

Senator Boxer opposed legislation that would make it illegal to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion without the consent of the parents.  She opposed a law that would apply separate offenses when a mother and an unborn child are both killed.  She opposed the "Mexico City" rule that prevented federal funds from going to organizations outside of the US that perform abortions.

 

Federal funding for abortion

In 2009, the Senate considered the Nelson amendment to the health care reform bill.  The amendment would have forbid a public health insurance option from covering abortion, and forbid private insurance companies that receive federal subsidies from covering abortions.  In response to this amendment, Senator Boxer called the amendment "the biggest rollback to a woman’s right to choose in decades."  She stated that the measure is backed by a handful of male colleagues who, if they could, would overturn Roe v. Wade.  Instead, she says, they attack a woman’s insurance coverage, saying “Oh, yes, this is a legal procedure. But you can’t use your own private funds.”

The language in the amendment was similar to that in the Stupak amendment, which had passed the house.  In December of 2009, Senator Boxer took to the floor of the Senate and stated that such a position was punishment to women, and showed a lack of respect.

 

Discussion on Partial Birth Abortion ban - 1999

What is shown below is a transcript of a discussion between Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Rick Santorum.  Senator Santorum is arguing for legislation to ban the act of partial birth abortions, and Senator Boxer is stating that she opposes the ban.  This conversation has been a source of a great deal of controversy since it took place.  This transcript was taken from the NRLC site

 

Family Planning Services Act of 2005

Senator Boxer was an original co-sponsor of the Family Planning Services Act of 2005.  This bill was authored by Senator Hillary Clinton and although it was never brought up for a vote in the US Senate, it had the following purposes:

  • authorizes funding for family planning services grants
  • allows states to provide such services to individuals who may not be eligible for Medicaid
  • prohibits health insurance providers from excluding contraceptive services, drugs or devices from benefits
  • establishes a program to disseminate information on emergency contraception; requires hospitals receiving federal funding to offer emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault
  • provides grants to public and private entities to establish or expand teen pregnancy prevention programs
  • requires that federally funded education programs about contraception be medically accurate and include information about health benefits and failure rates. 

 

 

Press Conference - Firewall between public and private funds

At a press conference, Senator Boxer was asked by CNS about her beliefs concerning the use of public funds to perform abortions.  She expressed support for the Hyde Amendment, which bars public funds from being used for abortions, but voted against a similar amendment in the Senate

 

Comparison of Abortion to Viagra

In December of 2009, Senator Boxer rose to the floor of the US Senate to discuss the need to provide to abortions as part of a government health care plan.  In that speech she stated that the government provides for Viagra for men as an example of the government providing reproductive health benefits.

 

2010 Re-Election Campaign Website Statements

 

 

Voting Record

Amendment - Funds to coercive abortions

On March 2, 2009, Senator Wicker submitted amendment SA 607. The amendment was made to the omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year 2009, and it sought to ensure that money which was sent to the United Nations from the US was not used in programs the sought to limit populations through forced sterilization or coercive abortion. The amendment specifically mentions the programs in China. Most Republicans supported the amendment and most Democrats opposed it. The amendment failed 55-39. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to prevent aid funds from being used for coercive abortions.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to prevent aid funds from being used for coercive abortions.

Amendment - SCHIP and unborn children

On March 14, 2008 the Senate attempted to pass an amendment to the congressional budget for 2008. The amendment was to clarify the definition of a child for SCHIP purposes. SCHIP is the State Children\'s Health Insurance Program. The program covers children up to the age of 18 with health care. Although the program is funded by the federal government, implementation of the program is left up to the states. Many states provide health care to pregnant women above the age of 18, but justify the care as necessary for the health of the unborn child. This amendment sought to clarify such legislation by establishing a sets of codes for when such care can be given by the states. It is an attempt to put into writing when the pregnancy is considered a "child" and therefore enters into the realm of abortion as designating an embryo as a child for the purposes of giving it care under SCHIP would also imply that an abortion at or later than that time would amount to the killing of a child, and not an undefined mass of cells. The amendment failed to pass with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats opposing it in roll call 81. Those supporting the bill can be seen as attempting to establish when the definition of a "child" can be given to a developing fetus. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to define a child for SCHIP purposes.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to define a child for SCHIP purposes.

Amendment - Funding for enforcement

Congress has passed laws which prohibit an adult from taking a minor across state lines when the state laws require parental consent for an abortion. On March 13, 2008 the Senate voted on an amendment for funding of "vigorous enforcement" of the law. The amendment got the support of most Republicans and the opposition of most Democrats. If failed in a 49-49 vote. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to provide funding to enforce abortion laws.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to provide funding to enforce abortion laws.

Amendment to Prohibit Funds

In October of 2007, the Senate voted on an amendment to prohibit funds from being dispersed to groups that encourage or perform abortions. The measure failed to pass the Senate 41-52. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment.

Amendment - funds to abortion providers

Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas placed an amendment into the Consolidated Appropriations spending bill to ensure that funding did not go to groups that may support coercive abortion. The amendment failed in a 48-45 vote. Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to ensure that funding does not go to abortion providers.

Barbara Boxer voted against the amendment to ensure that funding does not go to abortion providers.

Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act

The second vote on the legislation came as the bill returned from the US House. In roll call 263, supporters of the bill failed to get the 60 votes required for cloture. The bill did not proceed further as most Republicans supported the legislation and most Democrats oppossed it. Barbara Boxer oppossed the Notification Act by voting against cloture.

Barbara Boxer oppossed the Notification Act by voting against cloture.

Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act

There have been 2 votes in the Senate concerning the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act S 403. The Act prohibited transporting a minor child across a state line to obtain an abortion. There was an exception in the bill if the life of the mother was at risk, and those transporting the minor could not be prosecuted if there was reason to believe that the transporters were under the impression that permission had been given from the minor\'s parents. The first vote on this bill came as the bill passed through the Senate. The bill passed the senate in a 54-34 vote with most Republicans supporting it, and about 1/3 of Democrats supporting it. Barbara Boxer voted against the Notification Act.

Barbara Boxer voted against the Notification Act.

Unborn Victims of Violence Act

The Unborn Victim\'s of Violence Act of 2004 (also known as Laci and Connor\'s Law) provides that persons who commit certain Federal violent crimes and thereby cause the death of, or bodily injury to, a child who is in utero shall be guilty of a separate offense. The bill came up vote a vote in March of 2004, and passed with the support of a vast majority of Republicans and about 1/3 of the Democrats. Barbara Boxer voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

Barbara Boxer voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

Partial Birth Abortion

In 1999 the US Senate voted to ban Partial Birth Abortions. The bill defined the term "partial birth abortion" and then made it a crime for a physician to commit such an act. The act defined partial birth abortion as an abortion in which the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally: vaginally delivers some portion of an intact living fetus until the fetus is partially outside the body of the mother, for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the fetus while the fetus is partially outside the mother's body; performs the overt act that kills the fetus while the intact living fetus is partially outside the mother's body. The bill initially passed the Senate in Roll Call 51 in 2003. Barbara Boxer voted against the 2003 ban when it initially came up in the Senate.

Barbara Boxer voted against the 2003 ban when it initially came up in the Senate.

Expressing the Sense of the Senate in Roe vs Wade

In March of 2003, the Senate voted on a sense of the Senate resolution affirming their support for the Supreme court's decision in Roe vs Wade. The measure passed the Senate 52-46. Barbara Boxer voted in favor of the measure and supported Roe vs Wade.

Barbara Boxer voted in favor of the measure and supported Roe vs Wade.

Partial Birth Abortion

The 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban defined the term as an abortion in which the person performing the abortion: deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the mother's body, or, in the case of a breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the mother's body; performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus. The bill was voted on separately and in a conference report. Barbara Boxer voted against the 2003 ban when it came up in the conference report.

Barbara Boxer voted against the 2003 ban when it came up in the conference report.

Partial Birth Abortion

After the 2000 Partial Birth Abortion Bill passed the Senate, it went over to the House and was voted on again in roll call 402 to pass the conference report which was the compilation of the bills in the House and Senate. Barbara Boxer voted against the 2000 ban.

Barbara Boxer voted against the 2000 ban.

Roe vs Wade

As part of the 1999 partial birth abortion ban, an amendment was introduced to express the sense of the senate in expressing support for Roe vs Wade. The amendment was supported by a majority of Democrats and a few Republicans The amendment passed in a 51-47 vote. Barbara Boxer voted in favor of the amendment and thus supported Roe vs Wade.

Barbara Boxer voted in favor of the amendment and thus supported Roe vs Wade.

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997

In May of 1997, the Senate passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997 in a 64-36 vote. The Senate did not have the numbers to overturn a Presidential veto. Barbara Boxer voted against the ban.

Barbara Boxer voted against the ban.

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1995

In December of 1995, the Senate passed the partial-birth abortion ban act 54-44. The legislation was vetoed by President Clinton. Barbara Boxer voted against the ban.

Barbara Boxer voted against the ban.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 21; Prevention First Act - Cosponsor

Title X Family Planning Services Act of 2009 - Authorizes appropriations for family planning services grants and contracts under the Public Health Service Act (PHSA). Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act of 2007 [sic]- Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and PHSA to prohibit a group health plan from excluding or restricting benefits for prescription contraceptive drugs, devices, and outpatient services if the plan provides benefits for other outpatient prescription drugs, devices, or outpatient services. Applies such prohibitions to coverage offered in the individual market. Emergency Contraception Education Act of 2009 - Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and disseminate information on emergency contraception to the public and to health care providers. Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act of 2009 - Requires hospitals, as a condition of receiving federal funds, to offer and to provide, upon request, emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault. At-Risk Communities Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2009 - Authorizes the Secretary to award grants for teenage pregnancy prevention programs. Requires the Secretary to award grants for teenage pregnancy prevention research. Truth in Contraception Act of 2009 - Requires that any information concerning the use of a contraceptive provided through specified federally funded education programs be medically accurate and include health benefits and failure rates. Unintended Pregnancy Reduction Act of 2009 - Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to expand Medicaid's coverage of family planning services. Responsible Education About Life Act of 2009 - Requires the Secretary to make grants to states for family life education, including education on abstinence and contraception, to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Prevention Through Affordable Access Act - Expands Medicaid rebates to manufacturers for the sale of covered outpatient drugs at nominal prices to include sales to student health care facilities and entities offering family planning services.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 611; Responsible Education About Life Act - Cosponsor

Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to states for sex education programs, including education on abstinence and contraception, to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Expresses the sense of Congress that states are encouraged, although not required, to provide matching funds to receive such grants. Requires the Secretary to provide for a national evaluation of a representative sample of such programs for effectiveness in delaying the initiation of sexual intercourse and other high-risk behaviors, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and increasing contraceptive knowledge and behavior. Requires states receiving such grants to provide for an individual evaluation of the state's program by an external, independent entity. Prohibits such programs from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 1173; Freedom of Choice Act - Prime Sponsor

A bill to protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman's freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 2593; Freedom of Choice Act - Prime Sponsor

A bill to protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman's freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 21; Prevention First Act - Title X Family Planning Services Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce abortions, and improve access to women's health care.

Session-112; Bill Number-S 1415; Access to Birth Control Act - Cosponsor

Amends the Public Health Service Act to require pharmacies to comply with certain rules related to contraceptives, including: (1) providing a customer a contraceptive without delay if it is in stock; (2) immediately informing a customer if the contraceptive is not in stock and either transferring the prescription to a pharmacy that has the contraceptive in stock or expediting the ordering of the contraceptive and notifying the customer when it arrives, based on customer preference, except for pharmacies that do not ordinarily stock contraceptives in the normal course of business; and (3) ensuring that pharmacy employees do not take certain actions relating to a request for contraception, including intimidating, threatening, or harassing customers, interfering with or obstructing the delivery of services, intentionally misrepresenting or deceiving customers about the availability of contraception or its mechanism of action, breaching or threatening to breach medical confidentiality, or refusing to return a valid, lawful prescription. Provides that a pharmacy is not prohibited from refusing to provide a contraceptive to a customer if: (1) it is unlawful to dispense the contraceptive to the customer without a valid, lawful prescription and no such prescription is presented; (2) the customer is unable to pay for the contraceptive; or (3) the employee of the pharmacy refuses to provide the contraceptive on the basis of a professional clinical judgment. Provides that this Act does not preempt state law or any professional obligation of a state board that provides greater protections for customers. Sets forth civil penalties and establishes a a private cause of action for violations of this Act.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 311; Global Democracy Promotion Act - Prime Sponsor

Declares that foreign nongovernmental organizations: (1) shall not be ineligible for assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 solely on the basis of health or medical services (including counseling and referral services) provided by them with non-U.S. government funds if such services do not violate the laws of the country in which they are being provided, and would not violate U.S. federal law if provided in the United States; and (2) shall not be subject to requirements relating to the use of non-U.S. government funds for advocacy and lobbying activities other than those that apply to U.S. nongovernmental organizations receiving such assistance.

Session-106; Bill Number-S 1200; Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act of 1999 - Cosponsor

A bill to require equitable coverage of prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, and contraceptive services under health plans.

Session-103; Bill Number-S 25; Freedom of Choice Act of 1993 - Cosponsor

Provides that a State may not restrict the right of a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability. Allows a State to: (1) restrict the freedom of a woman to chose to terminate a pregnancy after viability unless the termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; and (2) impose requirements on abortions if the requirements are necessary to protect the life or health of the woman. Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent a State from: (1) protecting individuals or private health care institutions from having to participate in abortions to which they are conscientiously opposed; (2) declining to pay for abortions; or (3) requiring minors to involve responsible adults before terminating a pregnancy.

References

[1] Website: CNS News Article: Boxer Says She Backs ‘Hyde Idea’ To Bar Federal Funds For Abortion, But Voted Against Hyde-Like Lang Author: Karen Schuberg Accessed on: 06/21/2010

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