In today’s cynical world, almost anything a politician says or does can be considered unprincipled, especially one who was as far behind in the polls as Ms. Fiorina. Was her impassioned outbreak attacking Planned Parenthood during the debate a heartfelt emotional plea or just a calculated political move? We’re never gonna know. But it certainly didn’t hurt her standing in the polls. Before the last CNN debate the erstwhile HP CEO was on the verge of disappearing off the national political radar screen. The timing, however, would appear more than fortuitous for her political aspirations with the right-wing, Republican nut-cases again up-in-arms threatening to shut down the government if they can’t defund Planned Parenthood. Now Carly is way up in the polls, front and center on the Republican stage.
Now Carly is way up in the polls, front and center on the Republican stage, but Fiorina is taking a big gamble.
But Fiorina is taking a big gamble, and it could all come back to bite her if she’s wrong in any of the details of what she is alleging with her lurid description and characterization of this video. The abortion debate is a highly charged emotional issue with strong overtones of both politics and religion. You can bet she’s going to be challenged (and rightly so) to prove she’s accurate in what she’s saying. Provide sustainable proof that the single video she’s cited has not been doctored or distorted, tampered with in any material way. Already there are questions regarding its origin and authenticity that need direct answers.
A spokesman for Planned Parenthood contends that the fetus shown in the video was the still image of a fetus that was stillborn and not aborted as was alleged by Fiorina in her rant. The web-site Think Progress reported that the Center for Medical Progress, the right-wing group behind the anti-Planned Parenthood video, actually took the photo of the dead baby from the distraught mother’s blog without her permission and re-used it for the controversial clip that Fiorina so chillingly portrayed in the CNN debate.
Now, either Fiorina was grossly exaggerating her graphic and horrific description of what she thinks she saw, or she was just lying for political purposes. Or the video in question was doctored by the Center for Medical Progress, the activist anti-abortion group that allegedly produced the video in the first place. According to Think Progress, the Center for Medical Progress later re-vised the description of its You Tube video to clarify that the still image of the 19 week-old stillborn fetus (not the live wriggling baby that Fiorina so graphically described) came from a 2014 Daily Mail article that was simply telling the grieving mom’s story.
The Planned Parenthood’s spokesperson adds that the video of the moving fetus is stock footage from the anti-abortion archive called the Grantham Collection and Center for Bio-Ethical reform. This was also reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Slate has previously reported that the Center pays doctors and clinics to allow contract photographers into operating rooms to document abortions, and then sells the images to anti-abortion groups and protesters. This sounds almost like a put-up, payola operation designed to smear Planned Parenthood, its doctors and clinics.
Another spokesman for Planned Parenthood has said in a statement that Fiorina’s comments “are just flat-out untrue. There’s no video showing what she claims. It simply does not exist. Carly Fiorina is lying”.
FactCheck.org found that the scene Fiorina referenced is not present in any Planned Parenthood video.
The website FactCheck.org found that the scene Fiorina referenced is not present in any Planned Parenthood video, and Politifact rated her statement “mostly false”.
Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization and one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education and family planning services. PP provides sexual and reproductive health care for millions of young women and pregnant moms who might not otherwise be able to afford the service.
Only three-percent of PP health services are abortion related. By law, federal money can not be used to fund abortions, and PP has consistently maintained that federal money received by Planned Parenthood is not used to fund abortion services. But pro-life activists continue to argue that the federal funding frees up other resources (those provided largely by private donors) that are, in turn, used to provide abortions. The onus here, it would seem to me, is on the PP critics and attackers to factually prove their charge. John Kyl, the Republican from Arizona, once claimed that 90% of PP’s money went to fund abortions. This is completely untrue and shows how totally false, how hysterical and outlandish the conservative right can be in their attacks on PP.
From FactCheck.Org: Abortions represent only 3% of the total health services provided by Planned Parenthood. The group does receive federal funding. But, by law, the money can not be used for abortions.
Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood”s President, reiterated in her statement Thursday that the video cited by Fiorina was manipulated and edited by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. She responded: “I want to be really clear. The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true”.
House Judiciary and House Commerce committees began, on Thursday, investigations following Fiorina’s horrific allegations, according to out-going House Speaker John Boehner. This will no doubt be another profound waste of time (a Benghazi-style investigation) by a delusional, dithering Congress that has a whole plate of other important national issues that it should be pursuing.
This is nothing but a blatant attack on women.
This is nothing but a blatant attack on women: a woman’s constitutionally protected right to choose, her right to equal protection under the law, her right to make private decisions about the health and well being of her own body. And no congressional committee of religiously anal, misogynistic old men should have anything to say about that. Instead of defunding the government, if you really want to stop abortion, then help organizations like Planned Parenthood prevent unwanted pregnancies by providing free birth control pills and making other sanctioned contraceptive methods inexpensive and readily available so low income women and sexually active young girls can access them. Holding a dime between your knees doesn’t work, and is not what you’d call an enlightened approach in the 21st century. Even a congress of overly religious, fuddy-duddy old men should realize that.
You can’t legislate morality, the Roman Emperor Augustus learned that early in the first century A.D. But you can wisely prevent an unwanted outcome from a simple human mistake. It’s all right to respect another person’s religious convictions. But it’s not right to use them as an excuse to trample over someone else’s fundamental rights. Women shouldn’t be punished or unnecessarily burdened because nature gave them the equipment to perpetuate the species.
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