Carly Fiorina took her attacks on Planned Parenthood to the ultrasound room of an alternative pregnancy center in the heart of the Bible Belt on Thursday morning.
“Wow, that shot of the spine is amazing. Look how well developed it is,” she remarked as she observed images of the 18-week fetus.
“We need a woman president,” said Lacey Thomas, the expectant mother who relaxed, belly-out, here in front of a dozen television cameras, as the presidential candidate left.
Fiorina stood out in the most recent Republican debate in part for her passionate bashing of Planned Parenthood, the women’s health organization recently under fire thanks to a series of secretly taped, edited videos accusing the abortion provider of breaking federal laws by profiting off the sale of organs and tissues of aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood denies that it has broken any laws.
But conservative lawmakers – including some of Fiorina’s White House rivals – have threatened to shutdown the government unless Congress passes a ban on funding the group.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to begin the procedural process of bringing to the floor a “clean” funding bill to keep the government open until mid-December, pushing final votes until early next week – on the eve of the funding deadline. Once the Senate passes a funding bill, it will leave the matter to the unpredictable House, where GOP leaders have yet to decide on their exact course of action.
It’s an approach supported by Fiorina, despite her opposition to the 2013 government shutdown, which was triggered by GOP opposition to Obamacare.
“I did not think it was realistic when Republicans did not have a majority in the Senate,” Fiorina told reporters. “But when the government shut down, what happened? Government employees got their full pay – in essence they got a two-week paid vacation. I’m not aware of any hardship to anyone, other than the veterans trying to get to the World War II memorial.”
The Carolina Pregnancy Center, which offers child care guidance and Bible studies to women following through with unplanned pregnancies, has hosted a half dozen GOP presidential candidates. When Fiorina paced its narrow hallways, staff and pregnant women asked her to “stand for life” and “fight back.”
In between questions about soon-to-be-born child’s names, Fiorina pledged to do just that.
“The character of this nation cannot be about butchery of babies for body parts,” she told supporters in the foyer. “(Liberals) are perfectly prepared to destroy other people’s jobs and livelihoods and communities in order to protect fish and frogs and flies, but they do not think a 17-week-old, a 20-week-old, a 24-week old (baby) is worth saving.”
Planned Parenthood spokesman Eric Ferrero said Fiorina was misrepresenting what the videos show.
“Given the flat-out lies that Carly Fiorina keeps telling, it’s not surprise that she feels right at home at an organization that lies to women about abortion and tries to scare and shame them out of making their own decisions,” he said in a statement.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.