In response statements that Carly Fiorina made about Planned Parenthood during the recent Republican debates, Planned Parenthood sent a "cheer squad" to confront Fiorina at a press event Saturday.
As Fiorina greeted 30 or 40 supporters at a University of Iowa Hawkeyes tailgating event, an equal number of protestors dressed as cheerleaders, along with a mascot dressed as a set of birth control pills, accosted the presidential candidate chanting "cheers" such as "women are watching, and we vote!"
The protest was organized by local Planned Parenthood affiliates in response to statements Fiorina made during the latest Republican debates.
"The Planned Parenthood cheerleading squad [will] make it clear for thousands of fans that Carly Fiorina lied and that her lie is dangerous for women's access to preventative health care," a media advisory sent out by Planned Parenthood about the event read.
The protest group was made up of Planned Parenthood advocates, patients, and volunteers.
The group was protesting statements Fiorina made about the secretly filmed "sting" videos that were the source of this summer's debate over defunding the health organization.
"I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes," Fiorina said passionately during the debate. "Watch 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." The former Hewlett-Packard CEO supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
The only thing is that the scene Fiorina described did not actually exist is the videos, a fact that was widely reported at the time. Since the debates, Fiorina has been challenged in multiple interviews about her statements, though she refused to back down.
Last Saturday, Fiorina's campaign released a response video to these accusations, containing footage that fit her description. The footage she used is credited not to the makers of the "sting" videos, but to the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, an anti-choice organization, and has been used by them for years for years.
When asked about Saturday's protest, Sarah Isgur Flores, Fiorina's Deputy Campaign Manager, told BuzzFeed News, "We're happy they are bringing more attention to the videos, which show Planned Parenthood butchering babies and selling their organs. "
Planned Parenthood brought a patient to the event, who managed to have a two minute long conversation with Fiorina, a Planned Parenthood representative told BuzzFeed News.
The representative said it seemed like a civil exchange, but ended with disagreement and frustration and with Fiorina telling the patient she needed to get her facts straight.
The protesters were met with some yelling and aggression from Fiorina supporters, the representative said, but there were no issues with security. The whole event lasted around an hour and went off without a hitch, the representative said.
Despite Fiorina's strong stance on abortion, Buzzfeed News revealed this week that a charity whose board she chairs donated $18,022 of goods to an organization that provides financial assistance to women seeking abortions.
The organization, called Good360, assists donations from companies to nonprofits by allowing the companies to donate products that are then selected by nonprofits on an online marketplace. Good360 then delivers the products to the nonprofits.
A spokeswoman for Fiorina's presidential campaign said in an email to BuzzFeed News that Good360's selection of charities is based not on particular causes, but "on an objective system they use that is intended to weed out fraudulent charities," but did not specify how Fiorina felt about the organization participating in the charity.
Ema O'Connor is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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