Pence talked about the beauty of adoption

Katha Pollitt wants us to make sure we understand how terrible Mike Pence is on abortion.

Mr. Kaine talked about trusting women as decision-makers. Mr. Pence talked about the beauty of adoption — in the context of criminalizing abortion, that really means forcing women to bear children for other people — and “health care counseling” for women. When he says that, he is surely referring to so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which try to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy, often through deception, scare tactics and Christian proselytizing, and to which Governor Pence has funneled millionsof Indiana taxpayers’ dollars.

Mr. Pence’s demeanor on Tuesday may have been calm and friendly, but his record on reproductive rights is horrendous, and voters need to be aware of that. A few highlights: As Indiana governor, he promoted a law, stayed by a federal judge, which would have banned abortion for fetal disability. The law also mandated the cremation or burial of aborted — or miscarried — embryos and fetuses, no matter how early. He slashed Planned Parenthood’s budget, which led to the closing of five clinics that provided testing for sexually transmitted diseases and coincided with a rise in H.I.V. infection in his state. And as a congressman, he led the fight to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding in 2011.

He puts his belief that women’s bodies are public property right up front.

When Mr. Kaine mentioned that Mr. Trump had called for punishing women who had abortions, Mr. Pence brushed it aside. His running mate, the Republican nominee for president, talked like that only because he’s “not a polished politician.”

No, he said that because he’s not a decent human being and because he has nothing but contempt for women.

Pence would much rather talk about so-called partial birth abortions, and those mythical day-before-birth procedures anti-abortion groups want to portray as the norm. Surely he knows, though, that a woman has already been punished in his own state. In 2015 in Indiana, a woman named Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison for what the prosecutor said was a late self-abortion. (Last month a judge overturned her feticide conviction.) Twenty years for taking a pill you can buy over the internet? That sure sounds like punishment to me.

Public property is public property. If it won’t obey, it must be punished.

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