Ross Douthat asserts that Carly Fiorina was confused rather than dishonest:
Now it’s very clear what scene she’s referencing: It’s a section of this Center for Medical Progress film, the relevant portion of which you can find right here (warning: tough-to-watch content), that weaves together interviews, graphic footage, and excerpts from the CMP’s sting videos of Planned Parenthood officials to tell an anti-PP story. The specific clip in question features a former technician for Stem Express, Planned Parenthood’s (erstwhile) partner in fetal-tissue procurement, describing her work at a Planned Parenthood clinic; this interview is intercut with video footage of a fetus twitching while it expires in a metal bowl, which is not from the abortion/procurement being described, but taken from a different undercover video at an unidentified clinic.
So far, the video Fiorina described has not been made public. This latest video most definitely is not it.
The video, titled “Carly Fiorina was right” (warning: extremely graphic), was provided by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. They are the group that provided an image of a fetus, moving slightly, that is used by the Center for Medical Progress in one of their videos. This new video shows the context: The fetus is pulled from a woman and placed in a bowl. At no point does anyone say, “We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” There is no sound. There is no indication that we are inside a Planned Parenthood–affiliated clinic.
The only new information this video adds is the revelation that the fetus came out of a woman’s body. If that surprises you, then you have no right to weigh in on debates over women’s health care.
It is easy to see how someone who has no obstetrical training might think this could be something other than a previable premature delivery. Cunningham’s statements clearly show he is no medical expert and isn’t in the position to explain it. However, I am.
Here are all the issues with the video from start to finish:
- It is illegally and clandestinely shot. I feel very badly for the poor woman in question and wonder why Fiorina and our elected officials are not as outraged as I am about her violation and exploitation. I had second thoughts about watching it myself given the lack of consent from the woman, however, I felt if I could end the conversation about it faster by weighing in. Time magazine or Slate have links.
- The prep of the patient. The physician (I’m assuming) pours surgical prep/cleaner on the woman’s perineum. We don’t do that anymore for spontaneous deliveries or for abortions that involve induction of labor. This tells me this video is at least 15 years old or from another country.
- The delivery. It is a spontaneous delivery as the operator waits for the fetus to be expelled. This is what we do with a previable premature delivery. If this were shot mid way through a 2nd trimester abortion (meaning the Laminaria in the cervix, which are osmotic sticks that help the cervix dilate, had just been removed) it is highly unlikely the operator would have waited for a spontaneous expulsion.
- The cord is clamped on the fetal side. If this were an abortion it would just be cut. Really. No one ever does this with an abortion as it serves no purpose.
- Waiting for the placenta. The clamp is left on the placental end and at the end of the video the placenta still hasn’t delivered. If this were an abortion the placenta would be removed with suction immediately, no one would wait 11 minutes. Ever. Every abortion clinic has a suction machine.
- There is no proof this video is in a Planned Parenthood clinic never mind in the United States. This could easily be an operating room.
So, in summary, Fiorina’s description of video evidence of Planned Parenthood is fundamentally unexceptionable even though the footage 1)didn’t come from the videos Fiorina was discussing, 2)there’s no evidence that the footage comes from a Planned Parenthood, and 3)there’s very good evidence that it doesn’t involve abortion at all. Well, I’m convinced!