Mike Pence’s America

mike-penceSince the election of Donald Trump in November, countless people have reveled in the hope that perhaps some obscure constitutional gambit or criminal indictment would take place preventing him from taking office on January 20.

Mike Pence’s legislative record stands in opposition to his self-proclaimed reverence for life.

The sentiment is understandable to those of us who abhor this man and all that he stands for, but such a scenario would present an awful alternative in the form of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who would take Trump’s place in the Oval Office as our new president.

While Trump has spoken about his frightening and detestable political views, he has no legislative record to back them up. Former congressman and current Indiana governor, Mike Pence, however, has a lengthy one.

And it is positively horrifying.

Mike Pence on Reproductive Rights

This is a man who signed nearly every anti-choice bill that arrived on his desk while he served as governor. But making abortion less accessible wasn’t enough: Mike Pence’s Indiana was the first state ever to charge, convict, and jail a woman (Purvi Patel, who was suspected of self-aborting) for feticide.

Mike Pence wants to criminalize embryonic stem cell research and is a believer in “personhood.” He co-authored the “Life at Conception Act,” which seeks to “implement equal protection … for the right to life of each born and preborn human person … at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization.”

He believes a newly fertilized egg, which is nearly impossible to view with the naked eye, is a human person with rights. Personhood bills, were they to become law, would make all abortion (even when a fetus is non-viable and cannot survive outside the womb) illegal.

Contraceptive birth control pills would also be illegal.

“Personhood” has the potential to make even IVF procedures illegal.

In 2016, Mike Pence signed a bill into law that bars women from aborting a fetus that would be born with a life-altering disability.

In 2011, the self-proclaimed “pro-life” vice president-elect spearheaded efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in Indiana and succeeded. In 2013, the lack of funding led to the closure of several Planned Parenthood clinics, one of which served as the lone HIV testing center in Scott County — and, it should be noted, did not provide abortions.

In 2015, following the closures of those Planned Parenthood clinics, a severe and unprecedented HIV outbreak in Indiana led Gov. Pence to declare a public health emergency in the state. Did Pence stop to reflect that perhaps this significant public health emergency might have been much less grave had his defunding of Planned Parenthood not closed the sole HIV testing center in Scott County?

No. And, in fact, quite the opposite: He diligently supported the recent efforts of GOP leaders to repeal the Affordable Care Act (which would strip health insurance from 30 million Americansand defund Planned Parenthood.

Mike Pence on Sexual Health

In 2000, Mike Pence — a staunch opponent of LGBTQ rights — wanted to add a stipulation to the Ryan White Care Act (which provides extensive funding for HIV/AIDS treatment) that stated:

Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

Mike Pence didn’t want funds going to “organizations that celebrate and encourage” the types of behaviors that facilitate the spread of HIV.

Such as …?

Organizations that celebrate homosexuals and queer individuals as human beings with hopes, dreams, and, yes, CIVIL RIGHTS?

And which institutions provide assistance in “changing” the sexual behavior of individuals? Conversion therapy institutions do.

So is it reasonable to conclude Mike Pence supports the shaming and literal shocking of gay people? In November 2016, when asked about this matter, his representative stated it was “patently false” that Mr. Pence supported or advocated this practice. He stated he simply wanted federal funds “to be directed to groups that promoted safe sexual practices.”

What an interesting and blatantly false lie. When it truly mattered, Mike Pence helped to defund one of the premier organizations in this country dedicated to promoting safe sexual practices — Planned Parenthood.

Additionally, Mike Pence does not support comprehensive sex ed, which actually promotes “safe sexual practices” such as STD testing and condom use. In fact, despite the vast amount of medical research to the contrary, Gov. Pence believes condoms are “very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.”

The CDC, more of an authority on the matter, disagrees.

Mike Pence on Civil and LGBTQ Rights

Mike Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007, which would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In defending his vote, he predicted same-sex marriage would induce “societal collapse.”

Mike Pence also voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Mike Pence opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and made the statement that “Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion.”

Mike Pence’s Family Values

During his time in Congress, Pence opposed parental leave for federal employees — both paid and unpaid.

Mike Pence’s Junk Science

Pence, who fancies himself a fan of “small government” (except apparently when it concerns our uteri), is an anti-science troglodyte who once wrote an op-ed stating “smoking doesn’t kill.”

He argued against the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (which funded anti-smoking educational campaigns and permitted states to settle their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for the high medical costs of beneficiaries related to illnesses caused by smoking) on the grounds of “big government = bad.”

Mike Pence on the Environment

During his tenure as governor, Mike Pence promised to defy all rules relating to energy efficiency and the initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Indiana just last year! He vowed to be in violation of the law if it were held up in court.

Mike Pence on Gun Control

Mike Pence is such a fan of firearms that he signed a bill allowing guns to be kept in vehicles on school property.

He also signed a bill limiting lawsuits against gun retailers who sell firearms illegally.

Mike Pence’s War Record

While Donald Trump was excoriating Hillary Clinton for voting to authorize military action against Iraq, he willfully neglected to mention that his running buddy, Mike Pence, did the exact same thing.

Welcome to Mike Pence’s America

In Mike Pence’s America, women can be imprisoned over their right to choose. Vice President-elect Pence simply doesn’t believe women should be able to dictate whether or not they give birth. He doesn’t believe that if you are pregnant with a what would be a severely disabled child, you should be able to make a merciful decision that would potentially save you, your family, and the child from suffering. And he also doesn’t support the affordable health care you would need to raise such a child.

Or any child, really.

And, when those children grow up, he would prefer they not learn how to use condoms to protect themselves from potentially deadly diseases. He condones conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth, despite the fact that it can lead to depression, drug use, and suicide.

In Mike Pence’s America, keeping money from lifesaving HIV-related research, unless it properly shames and shuns gay people, is acceptable. Protecting and preserving the lives of LGBTQ individuals suffering from HIV and AIDS clearly means very little to this self-proclaimed “pro-life” man.

In Mike Pence’s America, hate crimes don’t deserve special consideration or prosecution. Protecting the lives of those vulnerable to hate crimes is not a priority for Gov. Pence.

And if you happen to be a federal employee, Mike Pence doesn’t support you receiving paid or unpaid time off to give birth or tend to your parenting duties.

In Mike Pence’s America, it’s not worthwhile to try to protect people’s lives in the fight against tobacco, one of the world’s top killers.

In Mike Pence’s America, a governor violating the law in order for businesses to keep pumping the air full of greenhouse gas emissions is the norm. Protecting the lives of Americans from pollution apparently isn’t high on his “pro-life” to-do list.

In Mike Pence’s eyes, your child has no right to go to a school that doesn’t allow guns near the premises or in the parking lot. In Mike Pence’s America, the rights of gun owners take priority over the safety of children. Obviously, it’s just not worthwhile for Mike to protect the lives of your already born children from gun violence. He doesn’t even think retailers who sell guns illegally should be subject to legal consequences when deaths occur.

Yet he and anti-abortion groups blather on and on about how “pro-life” he is. Do you detect any legitimate passion or concern for people’s lives in the policies Mike Pence has supported throughout his lengthy political career?

Donald Trump is a menace of unknown magnitude. Mike Pence, however? He is a menace we fully know and his America is one we should be incredibly afraid to live in.