GREENVILLE, South Carolina -- In the wake of a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, Carly Fiorina argued Monday that it’s fair game to criticize the organization because it receives federal funding.
“It’s focusing on policy when you say that taxpayers shouldn’t be funding Planned Parenthood,” Fiorina told MSNBC at an event here, where she spoke primarily about the economy and terrorism during a campaign stop. “Taxpayers are funding an organization that funnels millions of dollars into political contributions. It somehow doesn’t seem right, does it?”
To be clear: Taxpayers fund parts of the operational, health care side of Planned Parenthood -- primarily through Medicaid reimbursements for low-income patients -- not the political arms that are tied to the group or the abortion services Fiorina so staunchly opposes. This isn't the Republican presidential candidate's first misleading claim about the group. During a Republican primary debate in September, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO strongly condemned the group’s fetal tissue donation program as selling “baby parts,” and she exaggerated the scenes shown in heavily edited videos produced by an anti-abortion group that opposes Planned Parenthood.
Fiorina has refused to walk back those remarks; meanwhile, her vocal criticism of the group's fetal tissue donations helped elevate the issue -- and the legal tissue donation program -- to the forefront of the abortion debate.
The suspected Colorado gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, told law enforcement officials “no more baby parts” and spoke about politics and abortion after his arrest, sources told NBC News. Dear's motive remains unclear. He appeared in court Monday, and he faces first-degree murder charges.
Asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether rhetoric like hers against Planned Parenthood could incite violence, Fiorina said, “This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don’t agree with the message."
Meanwhile, Fiorina's under fire for her remarks, with Planned Parenthood condemning conservative rhetoric against the group.
On MSNBC Monday, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Dawn Laguens expressed "extreme disappointment that anyone in this moment, in the days after a tragedy like this, could be politicizing, raising arguments and lies that she knows have been disproven and trying to make political points at a time when the focus should be on the families, the injured and trying to get health care back for those women in Colorado Springs who have now lost access to care."