Politics

Carly Fiorina Stubbornly Stands By Inaccurate Description Of Planned Parenthood Video

CREDIT: Charlie Neibergall, AP

One day after being ambushed by condom-throwing Planned Parenthood supporters, Republican presidential hopeful and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina defended the recent remarks she made about Planned Parenthood on Meet The Press. At the last Republican presidential debate, Fiorina described a video from an anti-abortion group, Center for Medical Progress, that showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

The video Fiorina refers to is of a former tissue procurement technician describing an experience where she was working in the pathology lab and saw a fetus with its heart still beating. The woman interviewed said the brain was going to be procured from the fetus. However, the footage used alongside her commentary was stock footage of a fetus with its legs moving, not actual footage of what she witnessed, leading critics to point out that Fiorina mischaracterized the footage that was being shown. The supervisor the woman mentions in the tape also did not say the fetus was kept alive to harvest its brain.

Todd said to Fiorina, “Well, the footage you describe at best is a reenactment … The people that made the videos admit it’s stock footage. Yet, you went right along and said, ‘It’s Planned Parenthood.'”

Fiorina answered:

Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. Do you think this is not happening? Does Hillary Clinton think this is not happening? So sad that you missed the opportunity to ask Mrs. Clinton why she said, ‘Late-term abortions were only performed for medical purposes.’ That is patently false. This is happening in America today. And taxpayers are paying for it. That is a fact. It is a reality. And no one can run away from it.

There is evidence that people are more supportive of later abortions once they understand the reality of why women are getting them. The majority of South Carolina voters polled by Planned Parenthood Health Systems did not support 20-week abortion bans once they were better informed about why patients seek abortions at this stage, which are rare, such as discovering fetal anomalies.

When Todd pressed her further, Fiorina tried to change the subject by saying the Washington Post’s assertion that she misrepresented her secretarial work wasn’t credible. Todd then asked whether Fiorina thinks any of the work Planned Parenthood uses is “for good.” She said evaded the question, which was likely about Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion care, such as cancer screenings:

I’m sure it is. I’m sure it is. But you know what I find amazing? The hypocrisy of Democrats who stand up and oppose every time taxpayer funding for, say, pregnancy centers, that are also very much focused on women’s health, but no, Democrats don’t want taxpayer funding for pregnancy centers. I just visited one in South Carolina. They are all privately funded. This is hypocrisy on Democrats’ part. This is about a political slush fund. It is about the character of our nation. And yes, we should stand up and fight on this issue.

Fiorina may be referring to crisis pregnancy centers, which advocate that pregnant women do not get abortions, and are often not licensed, may provide misinformation, use scare tactics, and don’t provide the range of medical services that Planned Parenthood and various women’s health clinics do.

In the past, Fiorina has avoided questions about overturning Roe v. Wade. In 2010, she said, “Many, many voters are going to conclude while that [abortion] is a very important issue, it is frankly a decided issue. The law is clear in the state of California, where there is a constitutional guarantee to the right to an abortion. So why are we talking about a theoretical issue?”

Recently, however, she changed her position and said the decision should be overturned. Fiorina’s stance on abortion has been highly scrutinized after the debate, and has gained attention from pro-choice activists and the media, which is looking into her associations with abortion groups and previous remarks she’s made on the issue. BuzzFeed recently reported that a charity Fiorina chairs, Good360, “donated $18,022 in goods” to the Abortion Access Network of Arizona.