NEW YORK― Vice President Mike Pence declared victory for the anti-abortion movement Wednesday night, boasting that President Donald Trump has “literally filled” his administration with politicians who oppose reproductive rights.
“Life is winning in America,” Pence said at a gala for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List. “President Trump has been keeping his promises to stand for life. He’s literally filled this White House and agencies with pro-life leaders.”
Pence, who led the fight against reproductive rights as a congressman and governor of Indiana, went on to list the members of what he called the anti-abortion “A-team”― Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Housing Secretary Ben Carson, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway, who spoke at the gala before Pence.
Also listed on his “A-team” was Charmaine Yoest, the former CEO of Americans United for Life, who is assistant secretary of health and human services, and Teresa Manning, a former lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee who is expected to be appointed to oversee the nation’s family planning program at HHS.
“For the first time in a long time, America has an administration that’s filled top to bottom with people who stand without apology for life,” Pence said.
Addressing a crowd at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., Pence celebrated the various ways Trump has chipped away at abortion rights during his first hundred days in office. “At President Trump’s direction,” Pence said, he cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to give states the power to withhold public funding to Planned Parenthood and other health providers that offer abortion. Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule, blocking money to international health and family planning organizations that even mention abortion. And on Thursday, the House will vote on health care legislation that would withhold Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood and prohibit tax credits from being used to buy insurance plans that cover abortion.
“I like to say, in this administration, we’re in the promise-keeping business,” Pence said.
Pence also listed the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch as a victory for the anti-abortion movement. The conservative judge has ruled against Planned Parenthood and birth control access, and he would presumably rule against abortion rights on the high court. Pence said that “hope is finally shining through” for Americans who believe abortion should be illegal.
“I truly believe we’ve come to a pivotal moment in the life of this movement,” he said.
As Trump and Pence endeavor to roll back reproductive rights, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a counterexample of how governments might treat women. Addressing Planned Parenthood at its annual gala Tuesday night, Clinton said the “only right approach” to leadership is “to defend the ability of every woman to make these deeply personal decisions for herself.”
She added that anti-abortion politicians should stop attacking groups like Planned Parenthood that help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. “I believe that anyone who is opposed to abortion should be in favor of preventing unintended pregnancy, expanding economic opportunity and fighting for policies that actually support parenthood,” Clinton said.