Mike Pence On Working Moms & Kids' Emotional Growth, Plus 7 More Disturbing Views
Donald Trump isn't the only one who's flip-flopped on his opinion of working mothers. Although his running mate, Mike Pence, said working moms stunt kid's emotional growth in a 1997 letter to The Indianapolis Star's editor, he now claims he's changed his mind. "For years, we have gotten the message from the mouthpieces of the popular culture that you can have it all, career, kids and a two-car garage," he wrote in 1997. "Sure, you can have it all, but your day-care kids get the short end of the emotional stick." And in case that coded "having it all" phrase wasn't clear enough, Pence made his meaning abundantly clear when he specifically called out mothers twice, and never fathers. It's obvious which parent he wanted to stay at home.
But in September — after Donald "Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing" Trump unveiled his appallingly sexist maternity leave plan, thereby kind-sorta backing working mothers (barely) — Pence changed his tune, telling host John Dickerson, "We’ve all had changing attitudes about this. As you grow up, John, you learn a little bit as you go along the way." Let's hope so. But even if Pence truly has learned his lesson on that particular issue, he's still no friend to women and children, as evidenced by all these other times that he played the real-life version of an '80s movie villain intent on shutting down the community center in order to open a nuclear power plant:
When He Implied 'Mulan' Was Propaganda
"Despite her delicate features and voice," Pence wrote in a 1999 op-ed unearthed by BuzzFeed, Mulan achieved implausible military success. How absurd! Pence posited that those "politically correct Disney types," known for being "mischievous liberals," were trying to brainwash the next generation into thinking that women were capable of serving in the military. Not so, argued Pence. Keep men and women together in close quarters, he wrote, and "things will get interesting," which an odd way to refer to sexual assault.
His One Man Crusade Against Planned Parenthood
It's not news that most Republican lawmakers are staunchly anti-Planned Parenthood, but many of them only became really vocal about it after those "baby parts" hoax videos that circulated widely in 2015. But Pence has been working to defund Planned Parenthood since 2011, despite the fact that the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. Does Pence have something against mammograms or what?
Indiana's HIV Epidemic
Thanks to Pence's efforts, the Planned Parenthood in Indiana's rural Scott County – the only clinic in the area that provided gynecological care – was forced to close in 2013. Two years later, with no STD testing facilities left, the tiny town of Austin's HIV rate had skyrocketed to 3.5 percent, nearly nine times the national average. Pence was eventually forced to declare a state of emergency and call in the CDC for assistance.
He Instituted An Abortion Insurance Coverage Ban
In 2014, Pence signed House Bill 1123, which prohibited insurance companies from covering abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, threats to the life of the mother, or threats to her "major bodily function." The bill did provide for the option of purchasing a separate rider, for those who want to pay extra money to gamble on whether or not they'll ever end up pregnant with a fetus that has a severe disability, since that's not covered in the exceptions.
He's Totally Cool With Guns At School
Pence was busy in 2014; he also signed a bill allowing guns to be kept in cars on school property. I shouldn't have to elaborate any further on that one.
His Deplorable 'Religious Freedom' Bill
Pence's Indiana came under fire last year when a new "religious freedom" bill was revealed to be little more than the legalization of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Remember Memories Pizza, the pizzeria that gained national attention for vehemently refusing to cater a hypothetical gay wedding? That's on Pence. He later claimed that he made a mistake and would modify the bill, implying that he's not actually a bigot; just a governor who doesn't read bills before signing them into law.
The Most Sweeping Abortion Restrictions Yet
Just this past March, Pence signed HB 1337, a bill that specifically bans abortions based on a fetal disability diagnosis – and that's any disability, including a lethal one. Women whose much-wanted pregnancies won't make it to term in Pence's Indiana won't be able to terminate on their own terms, but instead will be referred to "perinatal hospice care." This same bill also mandated that both miscarried and aborted fetuses be cremated or buried.
Fetuses and guns are both very important to Pence.