Donald Trump has failed his first big test as the Republican nominee for President. His appointment of Mike Pence to be his Vice President is, to borrow one of his favorite words, a disaster.
Mike Pence has been a determined and ruthless general in the war on women. He has eagerly signed laws that criminalized abortion, forced women to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds, banned coverage for abortion in private insurance plans, and perpetuated the restrictions on access to abortion that the Supreme Court recently struck down.
In Congress, Pence was known for his relentless attacks on Planned Parenthood. He was one of the first in Washington to push for an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood and while he was Governor state funding for Planned Parenthood was cut nearly in half, forcing the closure of five small clinics, all of which provided family planning and other life-saving care to women, though none provided abortion care. Meanwhile, Pence presided over budget cuts to other programs that also protect the health and well being of pregnant women, including threatening 65,000 people with the loss of food stamps.
Mike Pence’s harsh labyrinth of abortion restrictions prevented Purvi Patel from accessing the safe, legal abortion care she needed, and ultimately she was unjustly convicted under Indiana’s “feticide” law. And Pence spearheaded Indiana’s outrageous law that would have permitted discrimination against LGBT persons, only “amending” it after a national outcry.
Donald Trump’s choice will undoubtedly be described by some as a victory for Republican “moderates” seeking “stability” for the ticket. That’s wrong—even when he smiles and makes nice, Mike Pence represents a reckless, dangerous threat to our essential freedoms.