Activist and 40-year Planned Parenthood patient Cindy Shireman, 54, challenged Fiorina for her comments about the organization
Fiorina said the activists' presence at an Iowa event signified that the women's health care organization is "scared"
Carly Fiorina has been taking on Planned Parenthood recently, and now, Planned Parenthood is taking on Fiorina.
As rowdy football fans ate, drank and tossed bean bags in the tailgate lots outside the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium here Saturday, the presidential candidate was met by a few dozen Planned Parenthood activists.
“Layoffs, lies, it’s no surprise, Carly fumbles for these Hawkeyes,” the protesters chanted, one sporting a birth control pill-style costume, and many carrying “#FibbingFiorina” signs.
“Let them protest,” Fiorina told an aide, walking through the parking lot to greet Iowa voters.
Fiorina, who has recently rocketed to the top tier in national polls, has made secretly recorded videos about Planned Parenthood a key issue in her campaign.
She stood out in the CNN Republican debate earlier this month in part for her passionate bashing of the women’s health organization that recently came under fire after the release of the edited clips from an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, that purportedly show officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood denies it has broken any laws and called Fiorina’s actions a “smear campaign” in a statement Saturday.
Fiorina took her attacks on Planned Parenthood to the ultrasound room of an alternative pregnancy center in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Thursday and spoke extensively about the videos at two Iowa stops on Friday.
On Saturday, activist and 40-year Planned Parenthood patient Cindy Shireman, 54, challenged Fiorina for her comments about the organization.
“How can you, as a woman, not support our health care?” Shireman asked.
“Oh, I support your health care. I don’t support the butchering of babies. And you should go look at those videos,” Fiorina replied.
Shireman said she had seen the videos and Fiorina fired back forcefully.
“I understand we may disagree on things. You need to ask yourself some questions. Why is it that fetuses are aborted alive to butcher their brains? Why? You ought to also ask, you should look at some facts. How much money does Planned Parenthood give to Democrat candidates? This a big political rig,” Fiorina said, jabbing her finger in Shireman’s face.
At the end of the heated back-and-forth argument, Fiorina told Shireman to get her facts straight.
“What you’re talking about is rhetoric, propaganda and lies,” she said.
“That’s what I’d say to you,” Shireman responded.
As Fiorina returned to shaking hands with supporters, Shireman told reporters Fiorina was “defensive” during the conversation.
“She is pushing the abortion agenda to get votes and she’s not telling the truth. She has no statistics or facts to back up her statements, and she became very defensive when we confronted her,” Shireman said.
Protesters continued to chant as Fiorina and her supporters ignored their shouts. Amid the uproar, condoms were thrown into the air, landing near Fiorina and her supporters.
Fiorina said the activists’ presence signified that the women’s health care organization is “scared.”
“We must clearly be making a difference if they all show up here,” Fiorina said. “I think they’re scared that the people of America are starting to look at what’s really going on in the Planned Parenthood clinic and they can’t deny what’s going on, so they shout slogans instead.”
CNN’s Theodore Schleifer contributed to this report.