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Carly Fiorina Doubles Down On Opposition To Abortion In South Carolina


When a pregnant woman is getting an ultrasound, a partner might be in the room along with a medical technician. In an exam room in South Carolina today, there were also reporters and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. The Republican presidential candidate has doubled down on her opposition to abortion and went to a place that's becoming a popular campaign stop. NPR's Sarah McCammon takes us there.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: The Carolina Pregnancy Center is a Christian-run organization in Spartanburg, S.C., whose leaders oppose abortion. Thirty-one-year-old Lacey Thomas is expecting a baby boy next February. She was there today for an ultrasound, and Carly Fiorina stood by her side.

CARLY FIORINA: Look at that. Is this your first one?

LACEY THOMAS: This is my second. I had the girl the first time. This is the boy.

MCCAMMON: Thomas has agreed to let Dr. Mary Haddad demonstrate the procedure for Fiorina.

MARY HADDAD: So her baby looks great. Would anyone like to hear the heartbeat?

FIORINA: I would love to hear the heartbeat.


MCCAMMON: Around the corner, Fiorina praises the center's work and tells a crowd it's hypocritical for liberals to support environmental protections for wildlife while also supporting abortion rights.

FIORINA: They are perfectly prepared to destroy other people's jobs and livelihoods and communities in order to protect fish and frogs and flies, but they do not think a 17-week-old, a 20-week-old, a 24-week-old is worth saving.

MCCAMMON: For Lacey Thomas, the expectant mom who let Fiorina watch her ultrasound, the campaign is mostly a lot of noise right now.

THOMAS: I don't know much about her except that she's a Republican candidate, and I looked that up yesterday.

MCCAMMON: Thomas meets monthly with her mentor here, volunteer Linda Earnhardt. The stay-at-home mother of five is following the campaign. Earnhardt was impressed by Fiorina's recent debate performance where she had harsh words for Planned Parenthood, but Earnhardt has one misgiving.

LINDA EARNHARDT: I do think a man should be a leader - that's me - but I see the men not standing up. And if she's going to be the one that's going to stand up and stand up and stick to her morals then by far I will give her my vote.

MCCAMMON: Gender is also a consideration for Carlotta Jackson, who came to see Fiorina today.

CARLOTTA JACKSON: As long as it's not someone who's trying to emasculate men and that it's not just a power trip for them.

MCCAMMON: But others, like Pam Dean, are eager to see a woman front and center in the Republican Party.

PAM DEAN: I like it that she's a strong woman, and that she held her own with all of those men and that women can lead.

MCCAMMON: And Fiorina has been working hard to earn the support of women. She's at least the fifth GOP candidate to visit the Carolina Pregnancy Center this year. It's a place to showcase a message that could play well in the Republican primaries, though in a general election, that message would be a harder sell with female voters. Sarah McCammon, NPR News, Spartanburg, S.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.

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