Carly Fiorina at Sept. 16 GOP debate.

Carly Fiorina: Debate Rages As To Whether Republican Told Truth At GOP Debate

Debate continues to rage between pro-life and pro-choice supporters with regard to statements made by Carly Fiorina at the September 16 CNN Republican debate held in Simi Valley, California.

The Inquisitr has reported on the statements Fiorina made with regard to videos she believed to be taken inside a Planned Parenthood clinic.

“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 this nation!”

In an attempt to understand the debate, the arguments of both sides are broken down.

Carly Fiorina supporters appear to believe that the story Fiorina told is absolutely true and that Planned Parenthood is involved in dissecting live fetuses, which are still moving around after being aborted. John Sexton with Breitbart appears to hold this view.

Carly Fiorina detractors appear to believe that the story is an outright fabrication, and that Fiorina plain made it up at the GOP debate, perhaps as a form of fear-mongering. No live fetuses have ever been dissected by Planned Parenthood and any video that has appeared since Fiorina made her statements has been doctored. Ana Marie Cox with The Daily Beast appears to hold this view.

There appears to be little middle ground.

Carly Fiorina supporters in Iowa.
Citizens listen to Carly Fiorina speak in Davenport, Iowa.

Yet, an upload to the YouTube account of The Center for Medical Progress on August 19 depicts audio and video very similar to what Carly Fiorina described. What appears to be the original (extremely graphic and disturbing) video is located at this link, cued to the instance Fiorina seems to describe. First a man purported to be David Daleiden with the Center For Medical Progress describes why fetuses must be kept alive. Then a woman purported to be Holly O’Donnell, a former Procurement Technician with StemExpress, LLC describes how fully formed fetuses provide the best brain tissue. Inter-spliced with O’Donnell speaking, a live fetus can be seen moving around in a metal pan. All of this appears to have been available at the time of the GOP debate.

A second, longer version of the portion of the video that appears to show the same live fetus, was uploaded to an AbortionNo YouTube account yesterday at this (extremely graphic and disturbing) link. There is no audio with this footage.

What remains unclear is whether or not the portion of video of the fetus Fiorina appears to have described was actually filmed in a Planned Parenthood clinic.

“It was filmed at an abortion clinic. It was not a miscarriage. Mothers don’t go to abortion clinics to miscarry. Had this case been a miscarriage, the mother would have presented at a hospital and her baby would have been rushed to an Isolette for appropriate neonatal care,” is what Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform was quoted as stating by The Federalist. Cunningham goes onto explain that “access agreements forbid” the group from revealing the location or affiliation of clinics or the identity of workers.

It does not appear that an answer to the question of whether the video in question was actually filmed in a Planned Parenthood clinic will ever be forthcoming. Could the video have been filmed in another country? Could it have been filmed in an illegal abortion clinic? Is there any other way a video of a live fetus appearing to have been abandoned while someone films it could have been produced? All of these questions would seem to be valid. However, any answers must be tempered with the large amount of testimony given by what seem to be Planned Parenthood and other workers in the all of the videos.

Was Fiorina intentionally lying at the GOP debate? A line by line breakdown is a relatively straightforward task.

“Watch a fully formed fetus on the table…” It was actually more of a metal bowl than a table, but the fetus was definitely fully formed.

“… its heart beating…” This statement is pushing it. How Fiorina could know with certainty that its heart was beating is a stretch. However, it must be taken in context with her next statement.

“… its legs kicking…” The legs of the fetus in the video were definitely moving. Saying that they were kicking would seem fair. Does this mean its heart was beating? As Fiorina is not a doctor, it would perhaps seem to be a reasonable assumption. Can legs move without life? Can legs move without a heartbeat? One would think not for very long.

“… while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” Perhaps Fiorina was paraphrasing. However, David Daleiden (who is pro-life) discussed why fetuses must be kept alive and Holly O’Donnell stated what another worker told her, “we’re going to procure brain.”

It certainly does seem that Carly Fiorina was describing a video she really saw at the GOP debate. She seems to have misunderstood that David Daleiden was talking from a pro-life stance (so perhaps, in this context, Fiorina should have discounted it somewhat). She also got some minor details wrong, but she was in front of a large audience, on national television, while talking on a wide range of issues. She also isn’t a medical professional. Given all of that, if the video Fiorina described is the same one analyzed here, she would seem to have been quite truthful.

Whether or not the footage is legitimate is another question, which may be difficult to answer. However, Carly Fiorina believing it to be legitimate, particularly with the preponderance of testimony from Planned Parenthood and other workers, would also appear to be reasonable.

Or maybe not. Was Fiorina had? Should she have done more research before discussing the issue at the debate? These would seem to be reasonable questions. However, they are not the questions being asked by either side of this debate at the moment, which would perhaps make it reasonable to assume that Carly Fiorina was telling the truth to the best of her ability. Unless she was in on some plot with the Center for Medical Progress when the videos were first produced. A truthful answer as to when Fiorina first became aware of the existence of the videos and whether she had any prior relation with The Center for Medical Progress would seem to be extremely relevant.

Carly Fiorina in Iowa.
Carly Fiorina speaks in Davenport, Iowa.

[Photos by Scott Olson / Getty Images]