By Tia Will
Carly Fiorina got one thing absolutely right in her statement in the last Republican Primary debate. “This is about the character of our nation.” This is indeed about the character of our nation. It is about whether we are willing to close our eyes to a blatant disregard for factual information, or not.
Ms. Fiorina is claiming the moral high ground in the debate over the activities of Planned Parenthood. She stands by her statement about the videotape purportedly showing an aborted fetus at a Planned Parenthood facility with kicking legs and beating heart supposedly with someone stating that they need to maintain the fetus alive in order to “harvest its brain.” Not even Holly McDonald, the StemExpess technician, made this claim. But to see for myself whether there was truth to this Fiorina claim, I watched the video myself. My impression is as follows.
The clip shows an approximately 17-19 week fetus, intact. At one point the fetus is seen on a table. In another shot, it is shown being carefully held by a pair of gloved hands. The first shot is of particular interest because there is a clamp on the fetal side of the umbilical cord. This to me is a clear cut indication of a miscarriage, not an elective termination. Why? Because during every spontaneous deliver that I have seen, if the placenta does not deliver immediately along with the fetus, an umbilical cord clamp is placed while awaiting the delivery of the placenta. In a termination procedure, no clamp is placed as the placenta is delivered immediately if it is not accompanying the fetus.
Also of note, while there is conversation about the beating of the heart, there is no comment about attempting to keep the fetus alive to “harvest its brain” or for any other purpose. There is a cut from the scene of the fetus to a clip of Holly O’Donnell talking about the harvesting of fetal tissue but no suggestion that she is speaking about this fetus, and no evidence that this fetus was even obtained from a Planned Parenthood facility.
Now I have no idea whether or not Ms. Fiorina herself watched the tapes that she challenges Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to watch. And, I have no idea whether or not she even did enough fact checking to realize that the fetus she is claiming was aborted at Planned Parenthood was almost certainly the product of a miscarriage, not an abortion, or that there is no evidence whether or not this fetus was even from a Planned Parenthood facility. If she did know this, then she is lying. If she did not know this, she is willing to compromise the health care of thousands of women in order to bolster her position amongst a particular group of far right religious conservatives regardless of the veracity of the claims.
Either way, I agree that this is about the character of our nation. And more specifically, it is about the character of Ms. Fiorina. For me, either way, Ms. Fiorina has demonstrated that she does not have the character needed to be the leader of our nation. If she is willing to accept these highly edited tapes without any check as to their authenticity as the truth and then make up further lies, manufacturing quotes out of thin air, how can we trust her to tell the truth about sensitive international matters ? How can we trust her to initiate and support women’s and children’s health initiatives if she is willing to so distort the evidence to bolster her own political position? How can we trust her to promote evidence based decision making when she is willing to escalate the lies promoted by the Daleiden group ? Being female does not make one honest. It does not make one sensitive to women’s health care needs. And it certainly does not, in and of itself, make one have the character necessary to be the leader of our nation.