- Carly Fiorina pushed congressional Republicans to "stand up and fight" to defund Planned Parenthood
- Fiorina said that could mean a government shutdown -- though she said it'd be Democrats' fault
The former Hewlett-Packard executive, who has surged into the top tier of 2016 Republican presidential candidates, accused Democrats of protecting a political ally Sunday in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"This is about a political slush fund. It is about the character of our nation," she said. "And yes, we should stand up and fight on this issue."
Fiorina has lashed out at Planned Parenthood in recent weeks, specifically citing controversial abortion-related videos that Republicans are using as rationale to block any federal dollars from flowing to the group. The women's health organization has pushed back, asserting the videos are misleading and insist they have done nothing wrong.
On Saturday, Planned Parenthood supporters
threw condoms in Fiorina's direction during an evening event in Iowa.
"If (Democrats) are willing to stand up and defend this practice and shut down the government over it, then let them explain it to the American people. Let them explain it," Fiorina said.
Pressed on whether she supports shutting the government down over the issue as Congress approaches an end-of-September deadline to extend federal funding, Fiorina said: "I believe there are a variety of ways to deal with this, but I believe this is something we must stand up and fight for because it is about the character of our nation."
"Taxpayers are funding this activity. And not only that, not only are taxpayers having to fund this butchery, but Planned Parenthood doles out millions of dollars every single election cycle to Democratic candidates," she said.
Fiorina also declined to retract her description of one of the videos that she gave during the recent CNN debate, though fact-checkers have deemed it false.