At a campaign stop in Iowa yesterday, Carly Fiorina ran into a group of small children on a field trip at the Des Moines Botanical Gardens. Next thing they knew, they were taking part in the Iowa Right to Life Presidential Forum.
“We’re being told to sit down and be quiet about our God, about our guns and about the sanctity of life,” Fiorina said, according to the Des Moines Register, with the toddlers sitting at her feet:
During an hourlong question and answer session, Fiorina repeated her plans to defund Planned Parenthood and voiced strong support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would put some restrictions on when physicians can and cannot perform an abortion.
“I will stand and use that bully pulpit day after day after day,” she said. “No one is going to tell me to sit down and be quiet, not on this issue, not on any issue. And the more we talk (about abortion), the more people learn, the more we find common ground.”
But parents of the toddlers were not asked if they wanted their kids to attend a pro-life rally, the Guardian reports, and some were not happy that their kids had been roped into it without their knowledge.
“The kids went there to see the plants,” Chris Beck, whose four-year-old son Chatham had been rounded up by Fiorina, told the Guardian. “She ambushed my son’s field trip.”
“Taking them into a pro-life/abortion discussion [was] very poor taste and judgment,” Beck told the newspaper. “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 posed with the children in front of a giant poster of a fetus, and at one point a model of a four-month-old fetus was brought out for the crowd.
“We were happy that these children chose to come to Carly’s event with their adult supervisor,” a Fiorina spokesperson said in a statement to the Guardian after the event.
Update: Fiorina's campaign forwarded the following statement:
It’s true. Carly has kids at her speeches on a regular basis. Last week, it was a kindergarten class in Holstein. Week before that it was a girl scout troop at Exeter…and another one in Windham. In Des Moines yesterday, a group of preschoolers along with their parents and teachers followed Carly right into the event she was speaking at for Iowa Right to Life. Earlier, she’d run into the kids in the Botanical Gardens and watched the Koi with them for a while. I guess 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.