Mike Pence just made remarks that are so medically unsound—and so detached from basic human ethics—they belong on a program like Alex Jones, not primetime.
On the topic of abortion, Pence has always been on the fringes even compared to most Republicans. He’s one of the only ones that favors a national six-week ban on the procedure, he’s advocated for blocking a very safe abortion pill from the market altogether, and now he has said he thinks abortions should be illegal even when the pregnancy is not viable.
Pence made the statements in a recent interview that was reported on by the Associated Press. He said, “I’m pro-life. I don’t apologize for it. I just have heard so many stories over the years of courageous women and families who were told that their unborn child would not go to term or would not survive. And then they had a healthy pregnancy and a healthy delivery.”
So Pence wants to make women carry their dead babies, or their babies that will have excruciatingly painful births and then immediately die right after, to term. And he likes to say he’s “pro-life.”
There’s nothing, nothing, nothing pro-life about forcing women to go through the risks and trauma of birthing non-viable pregnancies. And pointing to the rare outlier case where a baby can survive is no excuse for forcing thousands of women to risk it and see. Pence sounds like someone who read a couple of Chicken Soup for the Soul miracle stories and now wants to use them to run the healthcare system.
To be clear, medically the process to have an abortion and the process to have treatment for a miscarriage after the early stages of a pregnancy are exactly the same thing. In one scenario the woman is choosing to end the life because they do not want it, in another the baby has died due to no fault of the woman or is going to die once it is born. In all of these scenarios, women must go through the procedure of removing the fetus. They don’t have different ways of removing babies, just different names for the procedure. So what Pence is actually advocating for is a ban on pregnant women having access to safe, humane, and medically assisted miscarriages when tragedy befalls them.
Mike Pence, who already supports an unpopular national abortion ban and a ban on abortion pills, now says he would also force women to carry pregnancies to term even when doctors have determined there is no chance a baby will survive outside the womb.https://t.co/GXcKv6X07V
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 12, 2023
It should go without saying that such an asinine idea would unquestionably put more mothers’ lives in danger. Pregnancy is already risky enough. In case you’re unaware, the US maternal mortality rate is already in the gutter for a first-world country. When there are complications, the risk to the mother’s life only increases.
And that says nothing about the horrific emotional and mental trauma a woman would endure if they had to carry a dead or dying baby to term, give birth to it, witness its awful only moments, and then watch it die in front of them.
“One of the things that you cannot understate is the difficulty for a woman to carry a nonviable pregnancy,” Northwestern Medical School professor emeritus Alan Peaceman told the Associated Press. “It is psychological torture to go out in the world, for people to see your pregnancy — and people will come up to you and want to talk about your pregnancy. And that puts the woman in a terrible position that nobody should be in unless they chose to be in that position.”
With public policies like these, Mike Pence should give up politics and go write horror movies in Hollywood instead. It gives Mengele vibes, to be honest.
This isn’t a serious position. It’s cruel, unnecessary, and not remotely pro-life.
It’s also out of step with most Americans and even likely fringe among Republicans. A whopping 61% of Americans, including a third of Republicans, say they are mostly in favor of abortion being legal. But that being said, two-thirds of Americans do favor limiting the procedure to the first trimester with exceptions for the health of the mother. Many also favor exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
Fortunately, it seems the rest of the country would not go along with these kinds of outlandish proposals, but it’s still troubling that someone as high-profile as Mike Pence would even make them.