By Miriam Berg | 20 July 2016
Planned Parenthood Action Fund
What was Donald Trump’s first major decision as the GOP presumptive nominee? To pick Mike Pence — THE anti-women’s health crusader — as his vice president. If you haven’t heard of Pence, you’ve got to know that he is just as dangerous as Trump himself. The difference: Pence has already passed extreme anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood, anti-LGBTQ laws.
Here are the top seven things you need to know about Pence’s record on reproductive health and rights.
#1: Pence is a one-man anti-Planned Parenthood crusade
For years, Mike Pence has been on what Politico dubbed a “one-man crusade” to end patients’ access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers. In Congress, he started the whole “defund” Planned Parenthood thing: He introduced the first federal measure to block patients from care at Planned Parenthood… and then introduced five more… and said he’d shut down the government over it. He’s still trying.
#2: Pence has done just about the worst of any governor to restrict access to safe, legal abortion
Pence signed a whopping eight anti-abortion bills into law in his less than four years as governor of Indiana. That’s every anti-abortion bill that crossed his desk. That’s equivalent to two per year… and he’s not even done!
The litany of anti-abortion laws Pence passed include what some have called the country’s “most extreme abortion bill yet.” It’s so extreme that even anti-abortion, Republican women in his state legislature opposed it. Just one of this sweeping law’s many restrictions spurred women to protest en masse in what was dubbed “Periods for Pence.”
#3: Pence tried to redefine “rape” in a bill in order to limit access to abortion
It is just as awful as it sounds. Pence cosponsored a bill that would have allowed hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women who would die without the care — and the only exception would have been cases of “forcible” rape.
#4: Pence said working mothers stunt their children’s growth
Yup. In a letter to the editor of Indianapolis Star, Pence argued that households with two working parents are under a spell of “the big lie that ‘Mom doesn’t matter’.” This expert asserted that having both parents work would lead to “stunted emotional growth” in their children.
We think Pence’s logic is stunted.
#5: Pence signed a $3.5 million contract to lie to women seeking abortion
As governor, Pence signed a contract to take $3.5 million from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which provides aid to low-income families, and gave it to the Pennsylvania-based anti-abortion group “Real Alternatives,” that lies to women to “actively promote childbirth instead of abortion.”
The contract is clear: It says reps from the anti-abortion group should spread its message to pregnancy centers, as well as adoption and social services agencies, “so more women can be served and fewer abortions chosen.”
#6: Pence cosponsored “personhood” legislation
In Congress, Pence cosponsored dangerous, so-called “personhood” legislation that, if enacted, could interfere with medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion.
#7: Pence said women shouldn’t be in the military because sex. And Disney.
#8: Pence Doesn’t Know How Condoms Work And Thinks They’re Too “Modern”
Get this: In 2002 Pence said that “…condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases,” and using condoms as a solution to STDs was “too modern.” Guess this anti-Planned Parenthood crusader’s views really are Medieval! But here’s another thing: For a guy who obviously had no idea how condoms work to protect against STDs, Pence sure has been fighting hard to block patients from accessing contraception — as well as STD testing, treatment, and education — at Planned Parenthood health centers… Dontcha think?
BONUS BLUNDER: Pence built his career not only attacking women’s health — but also attacking LGBTQ rights
As governor, Pence signed a law to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people: The “religious freedom” law gave businesses the green light to discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious grounds. The law was criticized around the country: High-profile groups withdrew events from the state in protest, and businesses like Apple and Marriott condemned the law. Pence “revised” the law, but the controversy still cost the state at least $60 million.
And the revision still invites discrimination against LGBTQ people, and against women in accessing health care. Remember: Religious restrictions put a woman’s health at risk — often offering her less health care, less information, and fewer options when she may need them most.
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