Vice President Mike Pence made a move forward on the “war on women” yesterday during his keynote speech in Tennessee at the 2018 National Religious Broadcasters Convention. With organizers Susan B. Anthony List and Life Issues Institute looking on, Pence launched into his anti-abortion rhetoric to his like-minded audience saying that abortion rights will end “in our time.” His words were most likely met with cheers and nods by people hellbent on putting women’s lives in danger, making them resort to back-alley procedures. Because let’s face it — even if Pence is part of a twisted crusade to end abortion rights in our time, abortions will continue to happen.
Pence went on to detail the lengths this administration have gone to make abortion less accessible not only in the United States, but around the world. He smugly talked about blocking Planned Parenthood funding and the global gag rule that prevents United States organizations from discussing abortions or offering family-planning options. This is a man who backed a bill that stated abortion should only be performed in cases of “forcible” rape not just rape (as if there was a difference). Pence also backed the “personhood” legislation that stated a fertilized egg is a person. Neither of these bills went anywhere, but that was before he was VP with Trump at the helm.
Pence’s goal is to overturn the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade has shown no signs of slowing down since he first got into politics in 2001. “I truly do believe, if all of us do all that we can, that we will once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law. But we have to do the work,” he said during his keynote, calling on his base. “I mean, for all the progress since 1973, the resilience of this movement proceeding out of the heart of a compassionate nation, I just know in my heart of hearts that this will be the generation that restores life in America.”
During the speech, Pence said that there was “more progress in the last year in the cause of life” when it comes to “public policy” and that “life is winning in America.” Recall that “winning” is a phrase Trump loves to use. He’s threatened time and time again that we are going to win so much that we’re going to get tired of winning. In a way, he’s right. We are tired of his brand of winning.
To use this phrase in a positive light, life should be “winning” in America. But so many of this administration’s ideas are making people lose. By reversing Roe v. Wade, women lose their right to choose; we lose our reproductive rights. Many of us will lose our lives. This is not equality — it is an attack upon our equality, our freedoms, our gender.
If Pence wants to go to war on abortion and lower the rates, there are solid ideas that have been proven to work. Abortion rates are currently at an all-time low, most likely due to access to birth control options. To keep this rate on the decline, Pence could start a campaign to offer even more affordable birth control options, expand birth control options for men, make sure birth control is wrapped into our healthcare, and keep Planned Parenthood well funded. Sex Ed can be offered in schools, educating kids so they protect themselves and prevent pregnancy. It’s quite simple: If there are more accessible ways to prevent pregnancy, there will be less abortions. If we educate our kids about their reproductive health and well being, there will be less unwanted pregnancies. But we know these aren’t initiatives he is willing to undertake. This is a man who feels it goes against his marriage to dine with another woman or attend an event with alcohol if his wife isn’t by his side. It’s also been reported that he avoids meetings with women and this extends to professional purposes as well. All of which reveals that Pence is very out-of-touch with women and our purpose — he isn’t able to talk to us, to hear us, and he’s clearly fueled by misogyny. How can this be a person who has a say in women’s reproductive rights?
Pence’s desire to end abortion in “our time” feels like a chilling threat to further remove the rights of Americans. He is just another old white man in power attempting to infringe his personal and religious beliefs on citizens. There are many things that Pence should be focusing on ending in our time. The recurring school shootings should be at the top of the list. If he wants to truly “restore life” he can start by spearheading legislation to truly save our living children who are being murdered in their schools.
We have to see Pence’s affection for taking women’s rights away for what it truly is — it’s oppression. It’s policing our uteruses. Pence cannot and will not be the crusader to undo of the rights of American women. We’re too empowered to let that happen.