At the Republican debate this past week, Carly Fiorina attacked Planned Parenthood with an earnest ferocity that got a LOT of attention. She did it, however, by telling completely fabricated lie.
Anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch 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.
Powerful, compelling, emotional stuff. However, it’s also a provably false pile of bovine excrement. The videotape referred to by Fiorina does not, in fact, exist. Here’s the Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff:
Fiorina is wrong: Nobody watching the Planned Parenthood tapes would see those things. I know, because I recently watched all 12 hours of footage.
The videos were produced by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group that argues Planned Parenthood has profited from procuring fetal tissue for researchers. The videos do show Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue, sometimes in ways that are callous and jarring. But there is no moment where Planned Parenthood discusses procuring fetal tissue for profit, nor is there the scene that Fiorina describes.
There are two Planned Parenthood sting videos that were shot inside Planned Parenthood clinics (other videos exist, taped at conferences and lunch meetings). One was taped in Louisiana and the other in Colorado. And in both videos, Planned Parenthood employees do work with the fetal tissue, showing the pro-life advocates posing as tissue buyers the different parts of the body.
But the things Fiorina describes — the legs kicking, the intact “fully formed fetus,” the heart beating, the remarks about having to “harvest its brain” — are pure fiction.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos confronted her about her blatant lie on national television, asking her if she misspoke. In an act of pure Republican chutzpah, she looked at him and said, “No, I didn’t misspeak.”
With Fiorina in Michigan today for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference and to attend no fewer than four fundraisers, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan thought it was a good time to invite her to sit down with them and have an honest debate, one not based on “totally false claims”. Here is the letter sent to Fiorina by PPAM President & CEO Lori Carpentier yesterday:
Dear Ms. Fiorina:
Tomorrow afternoon and evening, you’re coming to the great state of Michigan, where Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, compassionate health care to 71,000 patients annually. Planned Parenthood has been providing the full range of reproductive health care to women, men, and young people in Michigan for more than 93 years, including birth control counseling and services, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and abortion services. Last year, for example, Planned Parenthood’s 21 health centers across this state provided 9,478 women in Michigan with clinical breast exams, which are critical for early detection of breast cancer.
Planned Parenthood has two health centers within about an hour’s drive from Mackinac Island, where you’re attending four fundraisers tomorrow. I am writing to invite you to visit one of those health centers during your visit this weekend, so that you can learn about the full range of services Planned Parenthood provides, get to know our compassionate and highly skilled clinicians, and meet some of the women who rely on us for high-quality health care.
Your remarks about Planned Parenthood during the Republican debate earlier this week were completely false. You described video footage that simply does not exist, to support claims that are patently false and have been widely discredited.
We have an honest disagreement about whether abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe all women must be able to decide for themselves whether and when to have children, and should have access to safe, high-quality reproductive health care, while you have said that Roe v. Wade should be overturned so that abortion can be banned. We can have an honest conversation about whether abortion should be safe and legal in this country, but you should not come at it dishonestly, with totally false claims about what Planned Parenthood does.
I hope you can make the time to visit one of Planned Parenthood’s health centers in Michigan this weekend to learn more about what we do and who we serve — and to meet some of the millions of women who are leading healthy lives and reaching their full potential as a result of the care Planned Parenthood provides. I will call your office this afternoon to follow up about your schedule and availability.
President and CEO
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan
Will Fiorina have the courage to sit down with Carpentier and her colleagues for an honest discussion? Of course not. As Steve Benen of The Maddow Blog put it so well, she is the female version of Mitt Romney, able to tell provably false lies and to move on as if nothing had happened, expecting the media to swallow it whole and not hold them accountable for their deception.
Thankfully, Planned Parenthood doesn’t plan to let that happen.