clock menu more-arrow no yes

New video that claims “Carly Fiorina was right” shows the opposite

Scott Olson/Getty Images

An anti-abortion group posted a 13-minute tape that purports to show the scene presidential contender Carly Fiorina described at this month's Republican presidential debate.

The graphic video does show a fetus that appears to fall spontaneously out of a woman's vagina, still moving its limbs after being placed in a metal dish. But there is no evidence that the tape was shot in a Planned Parenthood clinic, nor is there any audio like what Fiorina described. She had said, at the debate, that the video showed "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."

Clips of this footage turn up in two videos, one from the Center for Medical Progress and one from the YouTube account Save Babies, which the Fiorina campaign sent Vox when asked what tape she meant to reference.

The video footage comes from the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, an anti-abortion group that posts footage of fetuses on its website. In an interview with Time magazine's Michael Scherer, the group's founder, Gregg Cunningham, declined to discuss where the footage was shot or whether it was taken recently:

Cunningham, an anti-abortion activist, declined to identify the date, location or authors of the video in an interview with TIME Monday night, saying his group makes agreements of confidentiality in an effort to acquire images of abortions. He also made no claim that the images shown in the video had anything to do with Planned Parenthood, the organization that Fiorina and others have targeted for federal defunding. "I am neither confirming or denying the affiliation of the clinic who did this abortion," Cunningham said.

Cunningham told Scherer that he is certain it is an abortion process, but at least one obstetrician, Jen Gunter, has argued that the video more likely shows a premature delivery.

"It is a spontaneous delivery as the operator waits for the fetus to be expelled," she wrote Tuesday. "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 video is certainly graphic, and does show extensive footage of a fetus whose limbs move and whose heart appears to beat. But it is still not the scene Fiorina described in the debate, and definitely does not deliver on the title of the YouTube video: "Carly Fiorina Was Right."