Fiorina Super-PAC Makes Own Antiabortion Video Using Questionable Editing


After multiple media outlets fact-checked Carly Fiorina’s comments on a Planned Parenthood “sting” video after the second Republican debate, her super-PAC has released a video using questionable editing to “prove” her point. (Photo: Getty Images)

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was almost universally thought by pundits to have won last week’s Republican debate and has since catapulted herself to second place in the polls of Republican candidates, right behind Donald Trump.

One of the most dramatic parts of Fiorina’s compelling debate performance was her authoritative stance for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, a measure approved by the House last week, which was blocked by the Senate on Thursday.

During the debate, Fiorina looked straight into the camera and said:

“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.’ This is about the character of our nation, and if we do not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us.”

Almost immediately, many journalists, including those at Yahoo Health, called attention to the fact that the video Fiorina described during her debate performance does not exist.

In response, Fiorina’s super-PAC has now manufactured its own version of the alleged tape and posted it on their YouTube channel, which you can view below:

(Video: YouTube)

The video was made to prove Fiorina correct in the debate, but in reality, it resorts to the same methods as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the antiabortion activist group that used deceptive editing to create its now-discredited videos attacking Planned Parenthood.

The video contains spliced-together video and audio from five separate places — all in the name of creating the footage Fiorina insisted existed during the past debate. The footage, she continues to insist, not only warrants the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood, but also serves as evidence for why Roe v. Wade should be overturned and abortion should be made illegal.

A video released by the CMP on Aug. 19 utilized footage not from Planned Parenthood but from the Grantham Collection, an antiabortion resource website. At the end of the footage, a fetus is shown to be moving slightly. Medical experts have confirmed to Yahoo Health that, just as in following the death of an adult human, there can still be involuntary movements in fetuses. It’s also unclear where this footage comes from — if it’s after an abortion or a stillbirth.

In addition to the Grantham Collection tape, the Aug. 19 CMP video utilizes a photo of a Pennsylvania woman’s stillborn son, which was used without her permission and was falsely passed off as an aborted fetus in an earlier video.

Related: Undercover Antiabortion Video Showed Images of Stillborn — Not Aborted — Fetus

Fiorina’s newly released one-minute video contains both the Grantham Collection footage and the stillborn photograph that was reproduced without permission. Not only were neither of these pieces of footage taken at any Planned Parenthood facility, but Fiorina’s team has also made additional edits to the already highly edited CMP video to get its desired, and professed, results.

The footage from the Grantham Collection that appears in the Aug. 19 video has had its original audio stripped on the Fiorina tape and is played twice, replaced the first time by Fiorina’s comments during last week’s debate and the second time by a voiceover from an unrelated CMP tape that contains conversation with Novogenix Laboratories.

The stillborn image is also stripped of its original CMP audio and replaced with voiceover from a Planned Parenthood staff member, taken from yet another, separate CMP video. Columbia Journalism School professor and director of the school’s digital media program Duy Linh Tu told Yahoo Health, “I’m not quite sure what Fiorina’s new video proves. It’s a series of quick cuts of fetuses, combined with her statements at the CNN debate. Makes for a great political ad, but there’s no sequencing to the shots that gives the viewer any better idea of what the raw footage really showed. If Fiorina wants to put this issue to rest, she should find and release any unedited footage. Anyone can take footage of the pope and make him look like the devil with the right editing.”

The video concludes with footage of Holly O’Donnell, the StemExpress employee who was staffed by the biomedical material procurement company at several Planned Parenthood locations in California during the 34 days she was employed by the company. In the clip, O’Donnell describes a scene that allegedly happened while she was staffed at a Planned Parenthood affiliate in regards to fetal tissue procurement.

Related: Fact-Checking Carly Fiorina’s Debate Statements on Planned Parenthood

StemExpress and a family member of O’Donnell’s have both previously confirmed to Yahoo Health that O’Donnell did not apply for a phlebotomist position with StemExpress, as she asserts in the CMP tapes, but rather for the tissue procurement position in which she claims in the CMP tapes to have been unwittingly placed. The family member also told Yahoo Health that O’Donnell “is lying” in all of her statements in the CMP tapes.

Yesterday, Dawn Laguens, vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, sent a letter to Fiorina at her campaign headquarters asking the candidate to “stop making false and offensive claims about Planned Parenthood.”

In her letter, Laguens also acknowledges Fiorina’s committed antiabortion beliefs and invites her to meet with her, visit a Planned Parenthood health center, and have an “honest conversation about whether abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”

Laguens asks Fiorina to discuss her antiabortion beliefs in a fact-based and upright right and to “not come at it dishonestly, with patently false statements about what Planned Parenthood does.”

At publishing time, neither Fiorina’s campaign nor the Carly for America super PAC had responded to Yahoo Health’s request for comment. But in a response to Mother Jones, Fiorina campaign spokeswomen Sarah Isgur Flores wrote in an email, “Carly is a cancer survivor and doesn’t need to be lectured on women’s health by anyone. Over their long and factually incorrect letter, Planned Parenthood doesn’t and can’t deny they butchering babies and selling their organs [sic]. This is about the character of our nation.”

Correction: This article originally incorrectly stated that the video was posted on Fiorina’s official YouTube page. The video was posted on the “Carly for America” Youtube page, which is the name of a Super-PAC supporting the candidate.

Read this next: Fact-Checking the 8th Fetal Tissue ‘Sting’ Video