Vice President Mike Pence, who has served as the Trump administration’s primary liaison to the Religious Right, spoke today at a 40th anniversary event for Focus on the Family, boasting to the conservative group of President Trump’s record on curtailing abortion rights and promising that a measure repealing the Affordable Care Act will “defund Planned Parenthood once and for all.”
Before Pence took the stage, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly announced that the group would donate an ultrasound machine to a crisis pregnancy center in Indiana in the vice president’s honor.
Pence began his speech by delivering greetings from Trump, “a good friend of mine, who’s a leader, who’s a believer, who’s a tireless defender of the values that will make America great again,” and praising firebrand Focus on the Family founder James Dobson as a “friend” and a “mentor.”
“I promise you, Focus on the Family, you have an unwavering ally in President Donald Trump,” he said.
Pence assured the group that Trump would stand beside them in defense of “those who are persecuted for their faith, no matter the country they call home or the creed they profess,” a remarkable pronouncement from an administration that is attempting to enact a religiously motivated travel ban and is currently in the process of deporting dozens of Iraqi Christians.
“President Trump has stood without apology for the most vulnerable in our society, the aged, the disabled, the infirm and the unborn,” he added, another jarring statement coming the day after the Senate GOP released a health care bill that could slash healthcare options for disabled people, the elderly and pregnant women.
But Pence saved his most impassioned praise for Trump’s opposition to abortion rights, telling the audience that Trump “stands without apology for the sanctity of human life.” He cited the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the global gag rule, the elimination of U.S. support for the UN Population Fund, and the passage of a law allowing states to pull funding from Planned Parenthood.
“And this summer, when we repeal and replace Obamacare, we’re going to defund Planned Parenthood once and for all,” he promised.