Mike Pence & Abortion: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Mike Pence during a press conference at the 2008 Republican National Convention. (Getty)

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is President-elect Donald Trump‘s Vice President. If Trump was looking for an experienced politician to join his ticket, Pence has the resume. He was in Congress from 1999 to 2013 and became Governor in 2013. During his time in elected office, Pence has made it clear that he is anti-abortion.

As The Washington Post noted, Pence’s abortion record is one reason why anti-abortion activists support Trump. Pence also often says during speeches, “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”

During the vice presidential debate, Pence once again stood by his position against abortion, as Tim Kaine asked, “Why don’t you trust women. Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves?”

Pence and Kaine debate abortion laws and the rights of unborn childrenDuring the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Pence says: "I couldn't be more proud to be standing with Donald Trump, who's standing for the right to life." Kaine responds, "Why don't you trust women. Why doesn't Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves?" For more politics coverage, subscribe to PBS NewsHour on…2016-10-05T03:00:07.000Z

“…A society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled, and the unborn,” Pence said during the debate. “I believe it with all my heart. And I couldn’t be more proud to be standing with a pro-life candidate in Donald Trump.”

Here’s a look at Pence’s policies on abortion.

1. Pence Launched the Republican War Against Planned Parenthood

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Mike Pence and Donald Trump. (Getty)

In 2011, Pence put his war against Planned Parenthood into high-gear. He introduced legislation to make sure that all government funding for the organization was cut as long.

“If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them,” Pence told Politico in February 2011.

Pence wanted to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving funds through Title X, even though Planned Parenthood doesn’t use funds from that federal program specifically for abortions. Pence did acknowledge that fact, but still wanted to make sure that Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have the opportunity to ever use government money for abortions.

Days after Pence’s interview, the House voted to approve the de-funding of Planned Parenthood.

“We should end the day when the largest abortion provider is the largest recipient of [Title X] federal funding,” Pence said, reports Politico. “What’s clear to me, if you follow the money, you can actually take the funding supports out of abortion. We then have a much better opportunity to move forward to be a society that says yes to life.”

2. Pence Once Said He Longs for the Day Roe v. Wade is ‘Sent to the Ash Heap of History’

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Mike Pence in 2015. (Getty)

Before the House voted to pass the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, Pence gave a lengthy speech about his thoughts on abortion.

“Nobody is saying that Planned Parenthood can’t be the leading advocate of abortion on demand in America, but why do I have to pay for it? Nobody is saying that Planned Parenthood can’t continue to be the largest abortion provider in America,” Pence said. “But why do tens of millions of pro-life American taxpayers have to pay for it?”

Pence went on to say that he wished Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision, would be overturned.

“I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history, when we move past the broken hearts and the broken lives of the past 38 years,” Pence said.

If Trump is elected, Pence might get his wish. In March, Trump said that he would put a pro-life justice on the Supreme Court.

3. A Federal Judge Stopped a Law That Would Have Banned Abortions Based on a Fetus’ Disability

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Mike Pence in 2011. (Getty)

When Pence was elected governor, he took his fight against abortion to Indiana, passing abortion laws similar to those in other Republican-controlled states. In March 2016, he signed a law that made it illegal for a woman to have an abortion because of a fetus’ disability. Pence called it a “comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life,” reports the Indy Star.

“By enacting this legislation, we take an important step in protecting the unborn, while still providing an exception for the life of the mother,” Pence said. “I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families.”

However, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled against the law, calling its abortion limits “inconsistent with the notion of a right rooted in privacy concerns and a liberty right to make independent decisions.”

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is still challenging laws Pence signed to limit abortions in court.

4. Indiana Is the Only State to Convict a Woman for ‘Feticide’

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Mike Pence in 2010. (Getty)

Although over 30 states have fetal homicide laws, Purvi Patel of Indiana is the first woman to be charged, convicted and sentenced for feticide. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect of a dependent. Passed in 2009, the law used to convict Patel says that “A person knowingly or intentionally terminates a human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus commits feticide.” The law does exempt legal abortions.

In July 2013, Patel went to an emergency room after delivering a fetus and putting the remains in a dumpster. The fetus was the result of an affair she had with a coworker and feared that her conservative parents would not approve of the pregnancy. According to MSNBC, Patel believed that the fetus was stillborn and not moving. Police also found messages between Patel and a friend, in which she said she ordered abortion pills. She ordered them without a prescription.

A pathologist for the defense said that the fetus was stillborn and was 23 or 24 weeks along, The New York Times reports. However, the prosecution’s pathologist said that the baby was born alive and was 25 to 30 weeks along.

The prosecution also entered a “lung float test” as evidence. Although the test has been discredited, it claims that if a fetus’ lungs float, it means it took at least one breath. In this case, the lungs did float.

In May, a three-judge panel heard an appeal from Patel’s lawyers, who argue that the prosecution didn’t prove that her actions directly caused the baby’s death and did not use Indiana’s feticide law correct by using it in the case of a woman who ended her own pregnancy, reports the South Bend Tribune.

“While no woman should face criminal charges for having an abortion or experiencing a pregnancy loss, the cruel length of this sentence confirms that feticide and other measures promoted by anti-abortion organizations are intended to punish not protect women,” National Advocates for Pregnant Women Executive Director Lynn Paltrow said after Purvi was sentenced in March 2015.

5. Pence Disagreed With Trump’s ‘Punishment’ Comment on Abortion

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Mike Pence at CPAC 2010. (Getty)

After Trump said on MSNBC in March that women should face “some form of punishment” for an abortion, Pence’s office told CNN that he does not agree with Trump.

Governor Pence does not agree with the statement made by Donald Trump. As someone who has embraced the pro-life position all of his life, he has a deep compassion for expected mothers and the unborn. The Governor believes that it’s important to focus on policies, as we advance the sanctity of life on those that are performing the abortions.

After Trump’s statements on MSNBC aired, Trump issued a statement clarifying his remarks. He said that he would punish the doctor or whoever performs an abortion if abortion was made illegal.

If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any person performing this illegal act upon a a woman would be legally held responsible, not the woman.

The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

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