One of the biggest moments in this second GOP debate was Carly Fiorina deftly taking control of the exchange and pointing it toward the macabre activities at Planned Parenthood—and how the top two leaders of the Democratic party are quite content to defend Planned Parenthood and let them go about their grisly business. She said, with great seriousness and passion:
I dare Hillary Clinton [and] 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.
A host of media outlets, as well as Planned Parenthood, went to great lengths to explain that Mrs. Fiorina was making things up.
Planned Parenthood quickly released memo claiming she's liar:
The images show nothing like what Carly Fiorina said they do, and they have nothing to do with Planned Parenthood. The video footage that she claims exists—and that she ‘dared' people to watch—does not exist. We have a word for that: It’s a lie.
Politico's Rachana Pradhan was quick on the draw to “fact-check” Carly's statement, also concluding she was wrong:
The videos that have stirred up so much trouble for Planned Parenthood don’t show what Fiorina claims. [...]In one video, a former employee of the fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress[...]alleges that she saw an aborted fetus’ heart beat after a clinician tapped its heart. That video relies solely on the interview and does not include footage to support her claims. [But]...at no point do they include footage of an entire aborted fetus.
Huffington Post joined in, of course (See #6), bluntly claiming:
That footage doesn't exist. ...[T]here is no moment where Planned Parenthood discusses procuring fetal tissue for profit, nor is there the scene that Fiorina describes.
A writer at Vox claims Carly's story is fiction, explaining they know because they watched them:
Fiorina is wrong: Nobody watching the Planned Parenthood tapes would see those things. I know, because I recently watched all 12 hours of the footage. ...[T]he things Fiorina describes — the legs kicking, the intact “fully formed fetus,” the heart beating, the remarks about having to “harvest its brain”—are pure fiction.
George Stephenopoulos on ABC News interviewing Fiorina the next day said that “analysts who watched all 12+ hours said the harrowing scene you describe isn't actually in those tapes” and then asks her if she misspoke.
Mrs. Fiorina certainly did not misspeak. Each of the above sources got it exactly wrong. Everything she described in the debate is all plainly here in the video, starting at 5:37. (WARNING: It is graphic and upsetting.)
Here is where each point she made is shown. You be the judge as to who got it right.
1.”Watch a fully-formed fetus on the table” (see 5:59)
2.”...its heart beating, its legs kicking” (see 5:37 - 6:10)
3.”...while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’” (see 6:07 - 6:49)
At the end of this video, you hear an employee—Holly O'Donnell—explain why she quit her job. She was asked to cut this baby boy's face through the middle, from its tiny chin up beyond its forehead in order to “procure” the brain. That was the work she was in.
Reflecting on that day, she says she held the little boy, surprised at how big he was, how heavy, how substantive his body was, holding him in her hands while everyone else was busy. She humanized the baby boy, saying:
Its just really hard knowing you are the only person who's ever going to hold that baby. I held and thought, this could have grown up to [...] be a lawyer, a firefighter, this could be the next president. [...] Getting pregnant can be an accident, but its not a mistake.
That baby was real and the people who killed it that day in the clinic are real—regardless of how badly some want to deny it.
Glenn T. Stanton is the director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family as well as the author of many books, his latest being Loving My (LGTB) Neighbor: Being Friends in Grace and Truth.