Pence hits campaign trail with anti-abortion extremist to try to rally the base


With Trump's overall support among women eroding, he needs to fully capture the evangelical vote.

Looking to shore up the evangelical vote, Mike Pence is currently on "tour" with anti-abortion extremist Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization with a mission "to end abortion by electing national leaders."

As Trump's overall support with women erodes, it's critical that he fully capture the evangelical vote. From the start of his 2016 campaign, Trump has promised evangelicals that "Christianity will have power."

He said that if he won, "you're going to have plenty of power, you don't need anybody else. You're going to have somebody representing you very, very well."

Trump has delivered on that promise. His judicial picks have been a who's who of anti-abortion lawyers.

Of course, Pence has taken a very active role in making sure anti-abortion voters stay with Trump. One of his most consequential moments was near the start of Trump's term, when the Senate was deadlocked 50-50 on rewriting the parameters of Title X to exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving funding. Pence cast the tie-breaking vote, delivering a victory for anti-choice extremists. 

Pence even bragged about it while talking with Dannenfelser on Wednesday in Pennsylvania, reminiscing about how he had introduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood while he was in Congress. He called it "evidence of God's grace" that he got to cast the tie-breaking vote to defund. 

A hallmark of Trump's campaign for his second term is his claim that he is "the most pro-life president in our nation's history." Looking forward, he's promised to work to continue to transform the judiciary with anti-choice judges and to pass three laws that conservative lawmakers have tried to push for years: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. 

Of course, none of those things are possible unless the GOP also retakes the House of Representatives, which would also have to pass these bills, but that's beside the point here. Rather, it's to shore up his credentials with his hardcore evangelical supporters. 

Last week, they went to North Carolina to visit a crisis pregnancy center. These centers pass themselves off as health clinics, but what they really do is work to delay or deny access to abortion.

The North Carolina crisis pregnancy center, Gateway Women's Care, pushes lies about abortion on its website, where it says that abortion can lead to breast cancer. That's a persistent lie that has long been debunked

While at Gateway, Pence boasted that "hundreds of thousands of women" have gone to crisis pregnancy centers and that those centers  are "driving a victory for life straight from the heart."

However, the truth is that these centers are not medically regulated, lie to people about how far along they are in their pregnancy in an effort to stop them from being able to obtain an abortion, and say that complications from abortions are common.

Many people still end up having abortions, albeit later in pregnancy when they are more expensive and more difficult to obtain, because the obstructionism of the crisis pregnancy centers blocks them from getting the care they need until later in pregnancy. 

This past Wednesday, the Pence and Dannenfelser went to Pennsylvania to visit a conservative church and did what they called a "fireside chat," presumably to invoke Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speeches of the same name. But where FDR sought to calm a nation during a time of crisis, Pence and Dannenfelser sought to inflame their supporters and deliver the election to Trump. 

Their "fireside chat" featured nearly every anti-abortion talking point you can think of. Pence also engaged in falsehoods about Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris's platform, saying they "stand with a party that supports abortion on demand right up to the moment of birth." 

You can expect this to continue to be a key talking point during Trump and Pence's 2020 campaign. Indeed, they have a lot of money at their disposal to do it. The SBA List is funded by millions of dollars of dark money and they've promised to spend a staggering $52 million in 2020 to help Trump. 

Trump needs the evangelical vote and he also needs evangelical money, so expect to see more events with Pence touting the administration's anti-choice bona fides.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.