Fiorina accused of using children as props

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Jan. 22, 2016 at 4:39 PM
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DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is being accused by a parent of "ambushing" his son's field trip by ushering a group of children into an anti-abortion forum.

The forum was held Wednesday at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden in Des Moines, Iowa. At one point, Fiorina ushered in 15 young children to sit in front of her. Chris Beck, whose son was one of the children, objected, saying neither the candidate nor the campaign sought permission from parents before taking them into an event where Fiorina discussed harvesting baby parts.

"The kids went there to see the plants," Beck told The Guardian. "She ambushed my son's field trip."

Fiorina's speech reiterated her calls to defund Planned Parenthood on the basis of highly doctored videos released by the Center for Medical Progress -- an anti-abortion group. Planned Parenthood has recently filed to sue the group for those videos.

Beck said he only found out his four-year-old son Chatham was at the event when Beck's childcare provider told him his son's class had encountered Fiorina outside the botanical garden.

"Taking them into a pro-life/abortion discussion [was] very poor taste and judgment," Beck said. "I would not want my four-year-old going to that forum -- he can't fully comprehend that stuff. He likes dinosaurs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers."

Fiorina's campaign put out a statement Thursday after the story went viral.

"Earlier, she'd run into the kids in the Botanical Gardens and watched the Koi with them for a while," the statement said. "The kids must have thought she was pretty neat because then their teachers and parents and the kids all followed Carly into the event, complete with Carly stickers."

Sarah Isgur Flores, deputy campaign manager for Fiorina, told CBS News that Fiorina did not realize the children were on a field trip.

"I can understand why those parents might be upset at the other parents who were there, but those parents and teachers wore Carly stickers and took the kids in," she said.

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