Over the weekend, reports began to circulate that Vice President Mike Pence has been meeting with numerous wealthy donors. Pence and his wife have reportedly met with Chicago hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin, brokerage firm founder Charles Schwab, and other Republican fund-raisers from Dow Chemical and the military contractor United Technologies. This follows follows news from last month that Pence had formally established his own political action committee.
Does any of this definitively prove that Mike Pence is going to run for president come 2020? No, not necessarily — but the fact that Pence appears to be preparing for even the remote possibility of a potential presidential run should terrify American women nonetheless. If you think what we’re getting from alleged sexual abuser Donald Trump — attacks on Planned Parenthood, sexist remarks to female reporters and politicians, the works — is annoying and dangerous, just take a moment to imagine what Pence has in store.
We all know the man is a raging sexist. His refusal to dine alone with women who aren’t his wife (because, you know, all women are inherently conniving temptresses) should have made that plenty clear.
But when men like Mike Pence are given political power to spew out horrifying anti-woman policies, that’s when casual sexism crosses the line from irritating to dangerous.
Not even touching yet on Pence’s terrifying and draconian take on reproductive rights, there’s his awful record on equal pay. In a 1997 op-ed entitled, “Day-care kids,” Pence blamed working mothers for “stunting” their children’s “emotional development,” and opted to shame and blame them rather that suggest real and compassionate solutions like paid family leave. Predictably enough, while in Congress, Pence voted not once but three times against legislation to promote equal pay.
To Pence, women belong at home and in the kitchen, and in addition to his opposition to equal pay, his record on abortion rights and Planned Parenthood also makes this abundantly clear. After all, what other options do women have without affordable access to birth control and abortion?
As Governor of Indiana, Pence led a crusade against abortion rights, widely reported on by Mother Jones last year, signing off on legislation that would require women to pay costly, out-of-pocket fees for the burial or cremation of aborted fetuses, as well as a law that would hold doctors liable for wrongful death if they performed an abortion ecause of the race, gender, or disability of the fetus. The very “pro-life” Pence has also transferred funding meant for low-income families to Christian crisis pregnancy centers that operate solely to lie to and emotionally manipulate vulnerable pregnant women.
And to top it all off, by 2014, under Gov. Pence, state funding for Planned Parenthood in Indiana had been cut nearly in half from 2005 levels, unsurprisingly yielding HIV outbreaks and slashing low-income women’s access to crucial health care services. The Pence-led war on Planned Parenthood was likely a response to the fact that some clinics, without federal funding, offer abortion services; ironically, by denying thousands of women access to birth control and sexual education, Pence very well could have contributed to higher abortion rates.
Pence’s reign of terror over Indian allows voters a glimpse of what he would do as president. And for American women, it’s less a “glimpse” than it is an utter nightmare.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.