Doubling Down on the Lies – Fiorina and Planned Parenthood

(Rex Features via AP Images)

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.

About The Author

Tia is a graduate of UCDMC and long time resident of Davis who raised her two now adult children here. She is a local obstetrician gynecologist with special interests in preventive medicine and public health and safety. All articles and posts written by Tia are reflective only of her own opinions and are in no way a reflection of the opinions of her partners or her employer.

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  1. davisite4

    There is indeed reason to think that the video (and Fiorina’s comment) was trying to pass off a miscarried fetus as an aborted fetus:

    I watched the video that Fiorina supposedly watched, too.  It’s vey clear that a person is telling a story in retrospect, and then, to illustrate, the video presents a fetus — whose fetus, from where and when, is completely unclear.

    No one denies that PP provides fetal tissue for medical research for diseases like Alzheimer’s or that such procedures can be gruesome (just like open heart surgery is gruesome).

  2. mercy4all

    As a practicing Catholic from a modern viewpoint I am always troubled by the issue of abortion.  But this entire debate in my vew misses the point badly and I was particularly disapointed in Ms. Fioriana’s interview on meet the press.  Faced first with the fact she couldn’t prove her accusation  she was point blank asked if she’d support a total reversal of Roe.  Apparantly understanding the first trimester rule Roe set (later modified drastically by casey v planned parenthood ) she ducked the issue claiming voter support for forbidding  abortion past the 5th month.  She should have been pushed as should the entire Republican field on any compormise on the full pro life postion that life begins at conception and that the conceived child immidiately is entitled to full constituional rights, which includes a morning after pill.  Instead she was allowed as were all of them to avoid the real issue and they’ll find that many of us willing to relook at abortion  and make some strong modifications can’t support them.  If they continue to Out-God and Out pro life each other they’ll find when its a general election that they can’t speak to any group but far right religious  fanatics and they’ll open the door to Hillary and others from which many of us seek a balanced sane alternative.

  3. Tia Will


    she ducked the issue claiming voter support for forbidding  abortion past the 5th month.  She should have been pushed as should the entire Republican field on any compormise on the full pro life postion that life begins at conception and that the conceived child immidiately is entitled to full constituional rights, which includes a morning after pill.”

    I agree that the entire Republican field as well as any Democrats who are making their opposition to as well as their advocacy for Planned Parenthood or the issue of reproductive rights a party of their platform should be pushed on their position. I strongly believe that any legal/political actions taken should be based on some very simple facts.

    1. Medication or procedural decisions can never be based on the “time of conception” because, except in the extremely limited situation of in vitro fertilization and/or implantation, we simply do not know when that event has occurred. In the vast majority of cases of conception through intercourse, we have no way of knowing when fertilization or implantation has occurred and are thus simply guessing. Making sweeping laws affecting millions of women’s health care based on a guess about what might have happened is in my opinion, singularly bad policy making, But that is what the Catholic church and like minded far right fundamentalist Christians are asking us to do.

    2. Pregnancy is not medically discussed in months. If is discussed in trimesters medically speaking. I am not sure that any of the candidates appreciate that there is a difference. Also it would not appear that any of the candidates understand that there is an age ( 22-24 weeks) below which no ethical provider, neither obstetrician nor pediatrician would ever attempt resuscitation or “to keep the fetus alive” because there is zero probability of  survival outside the womb and to attempt to resuscitate would amount to physical torture.

    3. We know and have within our ability to implement the single best means of preventing unintended pregnancy, and thus the best means of preventing abortion. This is the use of LARCS ( long acting, reversible contraception, of which we now have one, the Nexplanon, which takes 5 minutes to place, is safe for almost every woman, has minimal side effects, is of 3 ( and possibly more pending ongoing studies) years duration once placed, and can reliably be removed within under 30 minutes when it has been placed appropriately in the proper tissue layer. Because of applicator design improvements, it is now technically very difficult not to place it in the right layer. However, instead of allowing our government to bargain for the best price and encourage every woman to adopt a LARC as her means of contraception, we allow companies to gouge for profit by charging hundreds of dollars for a tiny rod of progesterone, designed many years ago with minimal design changes in the name of profits for research.

    4. We have the means to cut our rate of abortion to < than 1/100 sexually active women per year with free and easily accessible LARCs and yet we refuse to do so for religious and political reasons. The horrible irony of all of this for me is that I share Mr. Daleiden’s and Ms. Fiorina’s supposed goal of the virtual elimination of abortion. What perplexes me is their refusal to support the group , namely Planned Parenthood, doing the most to support the elimination of abortion through the elimination of unintended pregnancy in the most vulnerable populations in our country.


    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Great editorial and follow-up comments.

      I’m not a Republican, but I can’t stand Hillary, so I have at least a passing interest in the potential alternatives. However, I was skeptical of Fiorina after her disastrous “leadership” of HP. After her statements about Planned Parenthood, I’ve concluded she’s just another pandering politician with a real deficit in either her honesty or her skill at critical thinking, or both.


        1. Frankly

          The guy that would add another $18 trillion in debt to our current $20 trillion of which $13 trillion was just added in the last six years by the other socialist in chief.  Not a chance.

      1. Frankly

        Hey NP, I think you just bought the DNC talking points about Fiorina’s leadership of HP.  I am surprised someone of your objective intellect would be so duped.  Disappointing to say the least.

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          No, actually I followed the HP saga as it was happening. At first, I thought she was a breath of fresh air for HP, but she really mismanaged a number of things on the inside, some of which showed up in the press and some of which didn’t. My concern is her lack of leadership skill and her apparent lack of interest in principles versus business (or politics, as the case may be).

          She’s obviously bright, but I need more than that. LBJ and Tricky Dick were bright also, and both were clearly dishonest. Of course, there are much more recent examples as well as older examples of incompetence and dishonesty at the head of state(s).

    2. Topcat

      We have the means to cut our rate of abortion to < than 1/100 sexually active women per year with free and easily accessible LARCs and yet we refuse to do so for religious and political reasons.

      As you say Tia, the best way to drastically reduce the number of abortions performed would be to make birth control widely accessible and affordable.  I can’t understand why the anti-abortion folks aren’t vocal supporters of taking steps to eliminate unwanted pregnancies.

      And why aren’t the presidential candidates talking about this?  If you are against abortion, you should be strongly in favor of accessible and affordable birth control.

      1. KSmith

        Because the candidates are too busy pandering to their base (the religious right) to address the issue in the measured way that you’re suggesting. Their base is still more invested in wanting women to just “keep their legs closed” until marriage and more worried about surveilling what others do behind closed doors.

        Logically, you would think they would be all for widespread contraceptions, since that would both reduce the number of abortions -and- reduce the number of welfare babies that they’re always on about.

        This contingent is also a vocal supporter of having lots of federal dollars go to abstinence-only sex ed in the schools, which has proven to be a miserable failure.

      1. Barack Palin

        You know she’s a threat because the left has really ramped up the attacks on her.

        Frankly, how about a Ben Carson – Fiorina VP card?

        Or Fiorina – Carson VP or Fiorina – Rubio?

        Any combo of these three would be hard to beat.

        1. Frankly

          I like them all three.  I think Carson is too thoughtful and slow to speak.  I think he would be a great VP though.

          I like Fiorina and Rubio.   Either would be 10000000-times better that anything the Democrats are putting out there.  The fact that old-grumpy socialist Sanders is getting any attention is proof that even a lot of Democrat voters know they have only junk to offer.

        2. Barack Palin

          Yes, Hillary is what she is, just a lying b—-.

          Bernie is a Socialist and that will never fly.

          If Biden decides to get in the race he’s one big dufus.

          I love our chances with any combo of Fiorina-Carson-Rubio against any of the above three.



        3. Frankly

          but trump isn’t evidence of the same on the other side?

          I think Trump is mostly a manifestation of anger from conservatives over the fact that Republicans in congress have been useless.

          Here’s the thing though.  47% of voters identify as Democrats.  25% identify as Republican.  But there are 16% of independents that lean right.  But they are not counted in the primary polls.

          The point here is that Sander’s popularity is a much stronger indicator of Democrat dissatisfaction with their core candidates that Trump’s popularity is an indication that Republicans are dissatisfied with their choices.

          And Trump is a popular entertainment figure… that most certainly accounts for some of his popularity.  That will go away as the primary race advances.

        4. Frankly

          One thing you need to keep in mind also… the GOP primary winner has to win the general election to be President, and to be President he/she has to appeal to the center of independents and moderates.  And to appeal to independents and moderates, he/she is not going to do so with an extreme immigration platform on either end.

          In our May survey, about half of Americans (51%) say immigrants strengthen the country, while 41% view them as a burden.

          Rubio’s platform on immigration is well thought-out and comprehensive.  He is putting out the details.  I don’t agree with every single detail, but the overall plan would be 10,000 times better than what we have today and more likely to be accepted and implemented.

          If you want to see Republicans win this next election to take back the country from the misguided liberals and socialists trying to transform us into Greece… then consider this…

          Despite the renewed focus on immigration, it’s worth keeping in mind that immigration has not ranked high in our annual poll on the issues Americans see as a top priority for the president and Congress. Even among Hispanics, immigration has not been a top priority; a 2014 survey found that Hispanics rated education (92%), jobs and the economy (91%), and health care (86%) as extremely or very important issues but fewer said the same about immigration (73%).

          I am angry at our government for allowing in so many poor and uneducated immigrants making our country less strong, less good and more in debt.  But we the people voted for all of those idiot politicians and now the electorate has changed and we cannot go backwards.

          The best we can do it to stop it now… and with great nuance, deal with all the mistakes we already, unfortunately, allowed in.  Anything more extreme is going to send independents and moderates packing for a Democrat that will keep the status quo of more poor and uneducated dependent voters flowing in.

  4. Frankly

    And not mentioned in the Democrat-owned main media is the fact that Democrats in the Senate blocked a bill that would ban late-term (post 20-week) abortions except in medical emergencies.   Currently about 35% of fetuses survive after 23 weeks.  Fiorina is correct about the character of the nation is in decline.  At some point in gestation abortion is just murder.  I think Democrats are sanctioning murder by blocking the legislation that would have restricted abortions to under 20 weeks.


    1. Davis Progressive

      which media outlets are owned by democrats?  i was of the view that most of the media was owned by corporations that tended to be conservative and republican?

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        All of the major mainstream media outlets spout a liberal view – NBC, ABC, CBS, New York Times (the paper of record), LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, etc. Even PBS (Bill Moyers, etc.) is liberal, as well as CNN and MSNBC.

        Conservatives are confined to wishy washy Fox News and talk radio.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        I believe the large media companies are publicly traded, but that doesn’t answer who manages or writes for them. I believe 92% of the media voted for Bill Clinton, which tells us something, while the New York Times has one identifiable (weak) conservative writer.

        1. Davis Progressive

          you shifted the discussion point.  first you acknowledge that large media companies are publicly traded, but then you fail to answer for who manages them.  then you immediately shift to what is now a 25 year old data point as to who voted for bill clinton among writers – not editors, not publishers.

  5. TrueBlueDevil

    I believe there at at least two important issues on the table.

    1. Do Planned Parenthood doctors alter medical procedures in order to obtain desired organs?

    2. Does PP profit from the sale of fetal organs?

    These are two legal questions, and there are probably others. Both are illegal.

        1. hpierce

          Actually Don the tapes ARE reliable evidence that with the right ‘interviews’, with the right editing, selection, etc., you can “prove” almost anything that fits your viewpoint/agenda.

          But, as they stand, the tapes are VERY suspect, and I say that as someone who opposes abortion “on-demand”, am pro-life (which sometimes means an abortion SHOULD be performed), supports stem-cell therapies/research (when they end up fostering life/health), and is adamantly against ‘profit’ from using tissue that would otherwise go to a landfill.  I support “diversion” of the tissue from the landfills, if the result is life-giving, and the parent(s) donate the tissue, much like the DMV donor program,

          I believe the tapes are polarizing, and drown out what I am voicing/believing.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          No editing. Brief and full-length videos are available online.

          In addition, an independent firm recently analyzed the tapes and found no ‘doctoring’ of the video clips.

        3. KSmith

          And there have been…what…8 commentaries on the Vanguard so far written by a gynecologist (so, a medical professional who is better positioned than you are in analyzing these videos and the procedures they refer to) pointing out that you are wrong on these two counts, and that this Daleiden group is presenting trumped up, spliced-together video “evidence.”


        4. Tia Will

          TBD and Don

          On the tapes, senior doctors repeatedly reveal “Yes”.”

          This is simply not true and repeating a lie does not add to its veracity.

          Regardless of the “reliability” of the tapes, there are no senior doctors saying that procedures would be altered for this purpose nor saying that fetal parts are being sold. Quite the opposite.

          In the first tape, that of Dr. Nucatola, she repeatedly states that no doctors are going to alter their practice for this purpose. She specifically gives the example of the use of Digoxin stating that no doctor was willing to alter their own personal practice even for the purpose of a limited study, let along for profit.

          She then repeatedly goes on to debunk the idea that fetal parts are being sold for any kind of economic gain even stating that if the Daleiden company did all the requisite work, there would most likely be no charge at all. She did point out that she would have to enquire about this part.

          The only people on these tapes who are asserting a change in practice or a profit motive are the Daleiden actors. The proof is right there on the unedited 2+ hour tape which is the only unedited tape in the entire set. In 2+ hours despite multiple leading questions and comments, they were unable to get any statement from Dr. Nucatola to confirm their assertions. Could this possibly be why the remainder of the tapes are so highly edited ?  Unable to get a doctor to confess that their assertions were true…because they were not… they decided that after the Gatter interview resulted in the same outcome, that they would simply create their own reality through editing ?  I do not know that this is true. I am merely presenting it as a possibility.

  6. Tia Will


    No editing. Brief and full-length videos are available online.

    In addition, an independent firm recently analyzed the tapes and found no ‘doctoring’ of the video clips”

    This is simply incorrect. I have viewed all of the tapes as put forward on the Daleiden web site and all of the clips that any of the posters here have referred me to. I have spent many hours reviewing all of the information available and none of it is complete and without editing.The closest to complete is the first 2 + hour luncheon with Dr. Nucatola in which it was obvious that she had no fetal parts for sale which apparently led to the clear need for more extensive editing. If any of you doubt this, I have a suggestion. This means so much to me that I would be happy to sit down with any individual or group and go through the tapes with you line by line pointing out where there have been edits, distortions and outright lies.  Any takers ?

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