Pence thinks millions of Americans no longer being able to get vital health care is 'winning.'
Mike Pence has been on a mission to take women's health care away from them since long before he became Trump's vice president. So it's not a surprise that he gleefully cheered when millions of people lost access to health care last week as a victory for his cause.
"Just last week, thanks to the strong stand for life President Trump has taken, tens of millions of dollars of federal family planning funding will no longer flow to the largest abortion provider in America," Pence said during a speech at the annual Faith & Freedom BBQ in South Carolina over the weekend.
But what Pence is celebrating is hardly a win for the millions of Americans who depend on Planned Parenthood for health care. Last week, the health care provider announced that it had been forced to withdraw from participating in Title X, the federal program that funds family planning services like birth control and health screenings for low-income Americans.
Current law already prohibits federal funds from being covering abortion, but that wasn't enough for the Trump administration. So under the new so-called gag rule, organizations that receive Title X funds are barred from even discussing abortion with their patients.
That means that because Planned Parenthood provides information about abortion to its patients, it can no longer receive federal funding for its other services.
It's a rule that Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, called "unethical and dangerous" and will result in millions of patients no longer having access to affordable reproductive health care.
This is what Pence is celebrating.
"It defies logic and sense that the very people claiming to care about ‘life’ are decimating access to critical health care for those who need it most," McGill said in a statement Tuesday. "From their first days in office, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have worked to take away the health and rights of people, not just across the country, but across the world."
Pence's war on Planned Parenthood goes back to his days in the House of Representatives, where he introduced the first piece of legislation aimed at defunding the health care provider back in 2007, and he continued to push for it until it passed the House in 2011, after Republicans took control. (It didn't pass the Senate and certainly would have been vetoed by President Obama if it had.)
As vice president, Pence has worked behind the scenes to gut women's access to health care, installing his handpicked extremist allies from his days as Indiana governor in critical high-ranking roles at the Department of Health and Human Services — a group one HHS official called the "Indiana mafia."
Forcing Planned Parenthood out of the Title X program, and threatening the health and welfare of the more than 1 million patients it serves under that program, is the all part of Pence's plan to destroy the organization.
"Under President Donald Trump," Pence said in his speech over the weekend, "life is winning in America again."
But it's hard to see how cutting off millions of Americans from access to basic and vital health care is a win for anyone but Pence and his fellow anti-choice radicals.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.