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Mike Pence May Have Won The VP Debate, But You Need To See His Record On Gender Issues

After the first and only vice presidential debate aired on television Tuesday night, Mike Pence seemed to be the clear winner to viewers around the country. According to a CNN poll, Donald Trump’s running mate managed to convince 48 percent of voters that he did the better job, edging out the 42 percent that supported Tim Kaine’s performance.

CBS News’ Elaine Quijano moderated the debate fairly. Unfortunately, she failed to spend much time discussing one very important issue—women’s issues.

As far as reproductive rights and LGBT rights go, Mike Pence is far from the winner.

According to Politico, Pence has run a “one-man crusade to deny” all federal funding from going to Planned Parenthood. This doesn’t just include abortion—Pence’s Planned Parenthood stance decidedly goes against spending on all of the organization’s services, including HIV testing, STD/STI testing, breast screenings and counseling.

“If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions,” Pence told Politico. “As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.”

It’s important to note that as the governor of Indiana, Pence forced many of the Planned Parenthood clinics in the state to close. This could have been what led to the March 2015 “historic” H.I.V. epidemic in Scott County, Indiana. “He’s the only one I know of who has been so completely obsessed with Planned Parenthood,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, to Politico.

Unfortunately, his issues with a women’s rights to choice goes far beyond defunding planned parenthood.

The Indiana Republican also pushed for a bill to restrict women for having abortions for any purpose relating to race, gender, ancestry or disability status of a fetus. This, however, would have required women seeking an abortion to disclose their reasoning and have it approved, imposing an incredible breach of privacy. The Supreme Court shot down the law in July, but not before women had given Pence a look at exactly what he was proposing through the infamous “Periods for Pence” campaign. Women called Pence’s office to talk about their periods, figuring the governor would want to hear about it since he’s so up in women’s business!

“I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history,” Pence once said while he served as a U.S. Congressman of Indiana.

According to the Huffington Post, Pence has also resisted the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy, opposed federal funding for H.I.V. and AIDS treatment and supported businesses who wanted to refuse serving LGBT people for religious reasons.  

“Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family,” Pence said in 2006, pressing that keeping same-sex couples from marrying was not discrimination but a religious obligation, according to TIME.

Oh, and women in the military? Pence apparently said no way, because of Disney. And sex. Both of which are very, very bad things to the Indiana governor. “It is instructive that even in the Disney film, young Ms. Mulan falls in love with her superior officer! Me thinks the politically correct Disney types completely missed the irony of this part of the story,” he wrote in a column, according to Refinery29. “You see, now stay with me on this, many young men find many young women to be attractive sexually. Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together, in close quarters, for long periods of time, and things will get interesting. Just like they eventually did for young Mulan. Moral of story: women in military, bad idea.”

Yes, Pence may have seemed more “stately,” and reserved. But maybe if the debate focused more on issues Collegiettes care about, we would have seen a different side of him.

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins