The call to impeach Trump has been stated by many, but impeaching Trump means that Mike Pence would become the next president. To some, this is an even scarier option than Trump: not only because of his conservative beliefs, but because of his prior political experience and the controversial laws he has signed into effect.
In 1990, while running for Congress, Pence ran a campaign that has been criticized as a nasty and negative one. He had a racially insensitive ad where a man dressed up as an Arab while throwing a jab at the other candidate.
Additionally, and a direct contribution to him losing that election, it was revealed that he had spent nearly $13,000 in political donations to pay off personal expenses, such as his mortgage, car bills, credit card bill, groceries, and participation in golf tournaments.
He ran for Congress again, but faced controversy once more during the campaign. On his congressional campaign website it states: “Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Many, even Pence himself, have argued that this was not advocating for conversion therapy. But he opposed funding that would help people receive treatment for HIV and AIDS, and wanted tax dollars that were going to organizations that support lgbtq+ people to instead go to institutions that will “help” people to change their orientation. Efforts to change sexuality are dangerous.
Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation. Psychiatrists have stated that over the past four decades, there has been no proof that conversion therapy works. “All of the nation’s leading professional medical and mental health associations have rejected conversion therapy as unnecessary, ineffective, and dangerous. These groups have cautioned that the practices do not work and have warned patients that they may be harmful. For example, the American Psychological Association ‘advises parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and to seek psychotherapy, social support, and educational services that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support, and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.’” Despite the proof that it does not work, and that it’s harmful to mental health, only 10 states have made it illegal to perform on minors.
Sam Brinton accounts what he endured in conversion therapy along with information about the horrors of conversion therapy. “Minors who experience family rejection based on their sexual orientation or gender identity face especially serious health risks. Research shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were more than eight times more likely to report having attempted suicide, more than five times more likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times more likely to use illegal drugs, and more than three times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.”
As governor of Indiana, Pence again faced controversy for his stance on lgbtq+ rights. In 2015 he passed into effect a widely known and controversial law, the religious freedom bill. It claims to lend protections to individuals and companies, allowing them to cite religious freedom as a legal defense. It also states that the government can’t “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion”.
While the bill itself does not mention sexual orientation, it has often been the custom of companies like bakeries and florists to deny service for same-sex weddings citing “religious freedom.” Those who supported the original bill were all outspoken against the legalization of same-sex marriage. For example, Micah Clark states: “If there is no way to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman, then we must protect the freedom of conscience, thought and speech on marriage in Indiana.” Despite Pence’s claims that this bill was not meant to allow discrimination, those that supported it clearly were planning to use it to justify denying gay people services.
Pence is also vocal on abortion, stating that he would like to see “the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history,” and believes that abortion will end in the U.S. “in our time.” Roe vs Wade is the Supreme Court decision passed in 1973 that deems abortion a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.
He passed one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation while governor of Indiana. The law is set up as to make women feel guilty and murderous for getting an abortion. The doctor is required to do an ultrasound looking for a heartbeat, offer patients “informed consent” 18 hours before they can follow through with the abortion (including chances of the kid’s survival and adoption alternatives), and have to offer patients “the remains” from their abortion.
The law also bans abortions based on gender or race. When it comes to gender, there is a stereotype that Asian American women would rather have an abortion than give birth to a girl. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum explains that, “By assuming that because of our culture Asian American and Pacific Islander women will choose to terminate pregnancies based on sex, this law turns AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) women into suspects in their doctor’s office. This encourages invasive scrutiny of our motives that other women will not be subjected to.” The race provision is based on the assumption that women would rather have an abortion than give birth to a child of color. However, there is no substantial evidence that either gender or race are actual factors. It appears to be a ban on discrimination, while actually being used to intimidate women via intrusive searches into their lives.
Lastly, the law prohibits abortions based on disability. This is the only one that has proof for it happening. For example it is common for a woman to want an abortion after getting a Down’s syndrome diagnosis for a future child. However, this once again disguises itself to be about discrimination by saying that you can’t abort based on a disability, but there is no help offered to those who do not have the resources to raise a disabled child. While this law and others like it claim to protect women, they just make legal and safe abortion harder to get, which drives people to search for ways to do it themselves.
Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit that provides reproductive health care. A common misconception is that it only provides abortions. Some of its other services include birth control, emergency contraception, STD testing, pregnancy testing, men’s and women’s health services, HIV services, LGBT services, information and tests for reproductive cancers, and even general health care. But because of pro-lifers’ hatred towards abortion, there’s been a fight to defund Planned Parenthood for offering them. Pence sponsored multiple bills to defund Planned Parenthood until one finally passed in 2011. After its branches were shut down in Indiana, there was an HIV outbreak in Scott County, where Planned Parenthood was the only HIV testing center.
Mike Pence has a history of passing controversial and dangerous legislation, while denying the effects his laws have. While this article focuses mostly on his danger to lgbt+people and women, he has backed all of Trump’s views on immigration as well. Impeaching Trump would would leave us with a man with the same views and a history of passing them into law. That’s why impeaching Trump could be dangerous; that’s why Refuse Fascism’s slogan “The Trump/Pence regime must go!” is so important, as it recognizes the danger of the whole administration and that it is the whole regime that is fascist and must go.