In a recent GOP presidential debate, Carly Fiorina said this:
“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.”
Ms. Fiorina said this with passion and conviction, with her voice quavering and her words ringing with outrage and anger at the injustice she claimed to have watched, which she claimed proved the evil of Planned Parenthood, which she dared President Obama and Hillary Clinton to watch as she did.
Factcheck.org, one of the leading fact-checkers in the nation, reviewed Ms. Fiorina’s charge and concludes: it is false.
Politifact, another nationally respected fact-checker, also reviewed Ms. Fiorina’s charge and also concluded: the video she claimed to have watched does not exist as she described it.
News stories from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and others followed by debunking in detail the Fiorina charge.
Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace asked Ms. Fiorina if she would admit “what every fact checker has found,” (Wallace’s words) that the scene she described was not visible in the video. Ms. Fiorina refused.
After reviewing the matter again, factcheck.org reiterated its condemnation of Ms. Fiorina’s claim, in another detailed analysis titled “Doubling Down on Falsehood.”
Let’s be clear. Planned Parenthood does not receive federal funding for abortion. Period. Planned Parenthood does not sell the body parts of fetuses for profit. Period. Planned Parenthood does not keep fetusus alive to sell body parts for profit. Period. Carly Fiorina did watch any video as she described. Period. A list of independent journalists and nationally respected fact-checkers have debunked Fiorina’s charge. Period. These attacks against Planned Parenthood are false, inaccurate and defamatory. Period.
Lets be clear about this, too: there is a disturbing trend in American politics when right wing organizations employ practices of private sector espionage by surreptitiously taping, selectively editing and then publicly misrepresenting propaganda videos of those they deem their political enemies with tactics reminiscent of the dirty tricks of the darker days of Richard Nixon.
Lets be clear about this as well: Until the latest attack by the far right of the Republican Party, endorsed by many of the few remaining moderate Republicans who are intimidated by the GOP right, Planned Parenthood has long received bipartisan support as one of America’s leading and most nationally acclaimed providers of healthcare services for women of all incomes and ages. Period.
And let’s be clear about the larger issue that is dramatized by this defamatory attack against Planned Parenthood, which is this: on issue after issue, the Republican Party, acting against the historic tradition of the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, has waged a war against the interests of American women on multiple fronts.
Almost all Republicans oppose legislation that would increase wages for women by promoting pay equity. In addition, they either oppose increasing the minimum wage, which is vital for many working women, or they only support small, stingy increases in the minimum wage.
After five conservative Republican men on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to severely restrict the standing of American women to contest job discrimination against them, most Republicans in Congress oppose civil rights proposals that would support women in their cases for equal justice involving fair pay and treatment on the job.
If a Republican president is elected in 2016, that GOP president would almost certainly propose nominees for the Supreme Court and all other federal judicial posts who would support overturning Roe v. Wade and ending a woman’s right to choice on abortion, and would uphold and expand previous judicial decisions undermining the right of women to seek equal pay and end job discrimination against them.
A long and growing list of Republicans move beyond opposing abortion rights and now would impose their views on American women by restricting their access to birth control.
Most Republicans in Washington would slash federal spending for a long list of programs supporting healthcare for women. When Jeb Bush recently stated that he favored major cuts in women’s healthcare programs, he was speaking the truth about what he and other Republican candidates for president would do if elected. When he then claimed that he had been misinterpreted, or had mis-spoke, he was acknowledging the political danger of views that most Republicans hold and would implement if given the power of the presidency.
When Republicans attack the expansion of Medicaid brought by Obamacare, they are attacking the interests of poor women and undermining the healthcare of their poor daughters and sons.
When Republicans call for cuts in Medicare and Social Security, they are undermining the healthcare and financial security of women seniors. When they call for privatizing Medicare and Social Security, and turning these programs into profit centers for big corporations and Wall Street, they are doubling down on their attacks against the healthcare and financial security interests of senior women.
When Republicans call for cuts to food stamps and other programs providing critical aid to the poor, over the objection of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and leaders of many faiths, they are particularly hurting the interests of poor women trying to provide their poor and hungry daughters and sons with desperately needed food.
These repeated attacks against the interests of women on multiple issues are pursued through abusive legislative tactics that abuse taxpayer trust and misuse Congressional power.
Since 2012 Republicans in Congress have pursued a war against one woman, Hillary Clinton, through partisan hearings and partisan subpoenas that the current House Majority Leader and probable future GOP Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, in one of the great confessions in American political history, recently claimed on Fox News to be one of the major achievements of the Republican Congress. Mr. McCarthy actually bragged that partisan Republican hearings in a partisan political inquisition attacking a Democratic presidential candidate to help Republicans win the presidency was a major legislative achievement of a Republican Congress!
These abuses of Congressional power were repeated again last week, with another legislative inquisition masquerading as a Congressional hearing by the misnamed House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, which attacked Planned Parenthood and its president, Cecile Richards.
The committee could have replayed the famous video that Ms. Fiorina misrepresented, which would have debunked the false charge that she was making and committee Republicans were repeating. But that would have defeated the partisan purpose of the show horse hearing.
Instead, again and again, committee Republicans insulted and berated Ms. Richards in the guise of asking questions. A number of times, when she tried to respond to those “questions,” she was cut off by the GOP members who asked them, who claimed their insults took so much time to dish that there was not enough time for her to answer, but she could submit her answers in writing (after the television cameras had gone).
Amazingly, demonstrating the arrogant attitude toward women that is symptomatic of the war against women, which has contributed mightily to what is called the gender gap in voting, a number of committee Republicans who oppose pay equity legislation for women had the gall to attack the compensation Ms. Richards receives for leading one of the most respected organizations advancing women’s health in the nation!
If Republicans are so concerned with excessive pay for women, perhaps they should have called Ms. Fiorina as a witness, to discuss her lavish and extravagant compensation when she was CEO of Hewlett Packard and fired 30,000 workers (many of them women), before being fired herself by the Hewlett Packard board of directors for poor performance. The committee might then have called Hillary Clinton as an expert witness on women’s healthcare who has great knowledge based on long experience about the good works of Planned Parenthood serving the healthcare needs of American women.
The GOP has a real problem with women, whose interests Republicans have attacked on issue after issue, year after year. Rather than threatening to shut down the U.S. government in their failing quest to destroy Planned Parenthood, Republicans would be well advised to spend more time working to help women, and less time working to hurt the interests of women on issues ranging from healthcare to financial security.