Who cares about her? Not Barbara Boxer or Linda Hirshman.
Daily Beast contributor Linda Hirshman doesn’t like California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina one bit, mostly because in contemporary America you’re not allowed to do your own thinking about abortion while being female, and Fiorina won’t play along. She identifies a “fundamental difference” between Fiorina and her Democrat opponent, Barbara Boxer:
When asked why she wants to make abortion criminal, Fiorina answers with a wrenching personal story about how she and her second husband found they could not have babies, causing her to realize what a “precious gift life is.” Pressed, she says that her beloved husband Frank’s mother had some childbearing issue and was counseled to have an abortion (which would have been criminal at the time, so who knows what actually was said). Had her mother-in-law aborted, she concludes that she, Carly, would have been deprived of her wonderful husband. Boxer’s positions are, largely, unrelated to her autobiography. Abortion is, in her words, about “women’s rights, women’s health, and the ability to control our own lives.” Even though Boxer and her husband Stewart are worth several million dollars, she still thinks poor people should get health care, a prospect that disproportionately benefits women.
In addition to the obvious nonsensical aspect of generalizing from one experience to 300 million Americans—if Frank had turned out to be a jerk like Carly’s first husband, would that mean abortion should be mandatory?—Fiorina and Palin’s pitches reveal graphically how selfish their brand of feminism is. With the addition of a hefty dose of good luck, and, in Fiorina’s case, the value of a privileged family background, they made it. So their public policy is not to make it any easier for any woman who comes after them with, say, control of her reproduction or health care separate from her husband’s job. Somehow the brilliant light of their narcissism is supposed to blind voters to the fact that there’s another response to making it. Here’s what real—not grizzly—mothers do: Make it easier for the young ones coming along next.
Hirshman’s take on Fiorina’s story might be valid, if a) it was the only reason Fiorina opposed abortion, or b) Fiorina saw her husband as little more than a possession.
The first is manifestly false: the candidate has said elsewhere that she believes babies receive human rights at conception, because that’s when life begins. The second is an awfully cynical spin on her words. She isn’t claiming that every pregnancy will result in a great person. All she’s saying is that knowing someone who could have been snuffed out by “choice” illustrates that abortion does not simply end a biological process, cure a condition, or erase a worthless clump of cells. At the very least, it prevents an entire lifetime of unpredictable potential from being realized, forcing us to ask if humans can really take it upon ourselves to make such decisions.