By Emmy Bengtson and Mehrin Rahman

Boxer wins!! Certainly in this debate and hopefully come November 2.

In their second meeting to discuss prominent issues of the upcoming election, Boxer and Fiorina answered questions on health care, abortion, immigration, the environment, and the economy.

Debate moderators Patt Morrison of the L.A. Times and KPCC and Gabriel Lerner of La Opinion pressed the issues to both candidates. Senator Boxer spoke with clarity on her opinions and in her rebuttals. Not surprisingly, Fiorina’s predominant debate strategy was to sidestep questions and avoid expressing her own ideas, instead attacking Senator Boxer.

We pro-choice supporters of Boxer were especially interested in hearing Fiorina’s explanation of her previous statement that she “absolutely would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if given the opportunity.” In an attempt to change the subject–she obviously knows only a tiny percentage of Californians agree with her–Fiorina not only refused to explain her previous statement on abortion (besides saying that she “happen[s] to be pro-life”), but actually dismissed the topic of abortion in general. Fiorina accused Boxer of using reproductive rights to distract voters from what she sees as more pressing issues–namely the economy and employment. “The subject of this election is not abortion,” Fiorina said.

Really, Carly? Evidently you’re not attuned to all the voters–especially women–who see abortion as a make or break issue.

In a recent poll conducted by EMILY’s List, 61% of women responders said they’d be more likely to vote if they knew they could “defeat a candidate who does not trust women to make decisions about their own reproductive health care.” Contrary to Fiorina’s misguided statement, abortion is clearly central to this year’s California Senate election.

Moreover, there is a very real threat to Roe v. Wade, as an increasing number of candidates for the U.S. Senate across the country this year have stated that they would deny abortion even in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the woman’s life. Fiorina’s evasion of the issue of abortion is little more than an attempt not to lose votes…abortion is very much a subject of this election.

By contrast, Senator Boxer made it very clear that she stands by Roe, reasserting her belief that abortion is a decision that must be made by the woman, not by the Senate. “I’m not going to put my views on anyone else,” she said, displaying an attitude we wish more Senators would share. Furthermore, Boxer believes that federal funds should be provided for women in the case of rape, incest, and endangerment of the women’s life.

So take note, Carly: pro-choice students throughout California are watching, listening, and ready to fight for a woman’s right to choose. We’re voting for Boxer, and we’re voting to keep abortion safe and legal.

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