To: Interested Parties
From: Eric Ferrero, Vice President, Communications,
Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Date: September 18, 2015
Re: Carly Fiorina – still lying
Caught in a patently false statement about Planned Parenthood at Wednesday night’s Republican presidential primary debate, Carly Fiorina is offering shifting excuses for what she said – and she has still not explained what video footage she was referring to.
By way of reminder, on Wednesday night, Fiorina said:
“As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, 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.”
And by way of reminder, this is just flat-out untrue. There is no video showing what she claims. It simply does not exist. Carly Fiorina is lying.
Sometimes when people are caught in a lie, they set the record straight and move on. Sometimes, they double down. Carly Fiorina has doubled down – partly because this isn’t a simple lie (it’s part of a whole pack of lies, in a thoroughly discredited smear campaign against Planned Parenthood) and partly because she has a long track record of dishonesty and deception (about Planned Parenthood and a host of other issues).
In the last 36 hours, Fiorina and her campaign have offered shifting excuses and varying accounts of what she was talking about. Carly Fiorina has refused to say what video she is talking about, because no such video exists. Here’s what she and her campaign have said:
“Rest assured.” On Good Morning America, she was confronted with the fact that the scene she describes appears nowhere on the videos, and all she could say was that people should “rest assured” that she had seen such a scene and that it was real. Three separate times during the interview, Fiorina responded to specific questions saying that the public can “rest assured” that what she said was true – never offering anything to back that up.
“Americans can go watch these videos for themselves.” Asked by NBC News about which videos she was talking about during the debate, Fiorina’s campaign issued a statement that gave no answer. It said: “Planned Parenthood wants to keep spending taxpayer dollars and hide the truth about their business. Unfortunately for them, Americans can go watch these videos for themselves and are horrified. Carly dared President Obama and Hillary Clinton to watch them. We hope they will and we hope they will tell us how they can justify sending taxpayer dollars to an organization that traffics in babies’ organs.”
“The entirety of the 10 videos.” The only Tweet Carly Fiorina has posted about this is to a supportive right-wing media article, whose writer says: “As for Fiorina’s quote, she is likely referring to the entirety of the 10 videos,” referring to the discredited smear campaign. While Fiorina herself didn’t say that the very specific, nonexistent scene she describes is about “the entirety” of 10 videos, that’s the explanation in the only article she has posted on social media about the issue.
“The videos speak for themselves.” Asked what video footage she was talking about, Fiorina’s campaign gave no answer yesterday in another exchange, telling reporters: “The videos speak for themselves. They are gruesome and Planned Parenthood is funded by taxpayers. Those are the facts.”
Two totally unrelated, totally discredited images. Fiorina’s campaign and their allies have told some media outlets that the footage she’s referring to is one of two images on videos released as part of the discredited smear campaign. One of those is an image that the extremists behind these videos first claimed was an aborted fetus, and then had to backtrack and explain was actually a woman’s stillborn son and was used without her permission. The other is an image that the video claims is from an anti-abortion archive called the Grantham Collection, which has been caught in the past making false claims about its photos and videos. Even if either of these images are what Fiorina was talking about – and even if they were real, which is in doubt, at best – neither of them show anything remotely resembling what she claims they do, and neither of them have anything to do with Planned Parenthood.
We’re continuing to call Fiorina out on her lies. Following a letter to Fiorina yesterday asking her to stop making false claims about Planned Parenthood, today Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan invited Carly Fiorina to visit a nearby Planned Parenthood health center in Michigan when she visits the state for fundraisers tomorrow. You can read that letter here, and it’s also pasted in below. The invitation is an opportunity for Carly Fiorina to learn the truth about what Planned Parenthood actually does and the people we serve.
We’ll follow up with her office this afternoon about the Michigan invitation. In the meantime, Carly Fiorina still has not answered this question: Where is the video footage that she described on Wednesday night?
Dear Ms. Fiorina:
Tomorrow afternoon and evening, you're coming to the great state of Michigan, where Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, compassionate health care to 71,000 patients annually. Planned Parenthood has been providing the full range of reproductive health care to women, men, and young people in Michigan for more than 93 years, including birth control counseling and services, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and abortion services. Last year, for example, Planned Parenthood's 21 health centers across this state provided 9,478 women in Michigan with clinical breast exams, which are critical for early detection of breast cancer.
Planned Parenthood has two health centers within about an hour's drive from Mackinac Island, where you're attending four fundraisers tomorrow. I am writing to invite you to visit one of those health centers during your visit this weekend, so that you can learn about the full range of services Planned Parenthood provides, get to know our compassionate and highly skilled clinicians, and meet some of the women who rely on us for high-quality health care.
Your remarks about Planned Parenthood during the Republican debate earlier this week were completely false. You described video footage that simply does not exist, to support claims that are patently false and have been widely discredited.
We have an honest disagreement about whether abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I believe all women must be able to decide for themselves whether and when to have children, and should have access to safe, high-quality reproductive health care, while you have said that Roe v. Wade should be overturned so that abortion can be banned. We can have an honest conversation about whether abortion should be safe and legal in this country, but you should not come at it dishonestly, with totally false claims about what Planned Parenthood does.
I hope you can make the time to visit one of Planned Parenthood's health centers in Michigan this weekend to learn more about what we do and who we serve -- and to meet some of the millions of women who are leading healthy lives and reaching their full potential as a result of the care Planned Parenthood provides. I will call your office this afternoon to follow up about your schedule and availability.
Lori Carpentier, President & CEO
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan