Voting to defund Planned Parenthood has become an annual event in the Republican Congress. Shaming Planned Parenthood is at the top of the list of any Republican candidate's playbook. That it became a talking point during the the Republican debate last week was no surprise to anyone.
That she could misrepresent Planned Parenthood—and get no pushback from CNN's moderators against inaccurate claims about the organization—is, while maybe not entirely surprising, disappointing to say the least.
When asked what she thought were the most pressing issues of our time, Carly Fiorina, the only woman in a sea of male candidates, listed Iran and Planned Parenthood as most important to her, putting the latter at the top of the news.
"As regards to Planned Parenthood," Fiorina said to the cameras and the crowd at the Reagan National Library, "anyone who has watched this video tape, 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.' This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us."
She received enormous applause from the Republican audience. Problem is, her statement was inaccurate and misrepresents the infamous fetal tissue sting video that were released this summer by the anti-choice organization, The Center for Medical Progress. In fact, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, Vox, The New York Times and Media Matters have all called out Carly Fiorina for the inaccuracy of her statement.
If these descriptions bother you, that's because that is the goal of these videos—to cause a reaction by presenting doctors discussing details of legal, medical procedures and graphic fetal images. Planned Parenthood does not sell fetal organs for profit and further analysis has shown that these videos were altered. There is no factual evidence of any wrongdoing.
Repeating the accusations over and over on a national stage won't make it true. But that didn't stop Fiorina.
The ethics of fetal tissue research that is a different conversation, one we can certainly argue. But that conversation shouldn't involve praising support to defund an organization that provides life-saving preventive care services, such as cervical cancer screenings, and valuable education on how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Since the debate, Fiorina has said she stands by her statements about Planned Parenthood and reaffirmed her support for a bill passed last week that would cut federal funding to the women's healthcare organization. To be clear, this funding isn't for abortions, since there is already a Federal ban on funding abortions. Rather, this funding—that Fiorina and other members of the House want to cut—pays for birth control and other valuable services that help women, particularly low-income women, stay healthy.
I have written earlier about the significance about having a female president. But there's a limit. My support isn't guaranteed when it involves a candidate with a questionable record on reproductive rights or when it comes to someone who is out of touch with the views and reality of most American women.
And I won't support a candidate, woman or not, who relies on a discredited video to make her case.