Republican candidates in Wednesday night’s presidential debate threw out plenty of red meat for their base supporters. Among the biggest examples were attacks on women’s access to abortion care.
Candidate Carly Fiorina made one of the most bizarre claims when she said the deceptively edited anti-Planned Parenthood videos that anti-abortion extremists have been touting in recent weeks include this chilling scene: “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.”
“Pure fiction,” writes Sarah Kliff at Vox:
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. …
Either Fiorina hasn’t watched the Planned Parenthood videos or she is knowingly misrepresenting the footage. Because what she says happens in the Planned Parenthood videos simply does not exist.
Keep that in mind as you listen to politicians pander to anti-abortion extremists. They’re making arguments based on lies. Carly Fiorina demonstrated that quite clearly on Wednesday night.