Mike Pence Is A Problematic Pick

by Erin Corbett

Update: On Friday via one simple tweet, Donald Trump confirmed Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his vice presidential running mate.

Earlier: Presumptive Republican nominee and former reality TV star Donald Trump has made a decision on his running mate, and early reports suggest that it's Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. The Trump campaign was scheduled to make the announcement on Friday, ahead of Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff, but rumors of Pence broke on Thursday morning. Here's what you need to know about Pence's controversial voting record over the years that will fit right in with the campaign.

Trump's campaign has been controversial since he first announced his candidacy last June. He has made problematic comments on TV and social media about Mexicans, black Americans, Muslims, women, the trans community, and the disabled. Since becoming the GOP's presumptive nominee, names of potential VPs have been floating around, but Pence might be Trump's pick.

Though some conservative politicians distanced themselves from Trump, Pence's voting record speaks both to Trump's policy platforms, and the GOP more broadly, making him the party's potential unifier moving forward. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake — who told Vanity Fair in an interview that he doesn't believe Trump can win the election — called Pence "the best choice Donald Trump has made so far."

Along with an A rating from the NRA, Pence's voting record is not particularly favorable for social progress regarding a number of issues, including LGBTQ rights, reproductive health, immigration, and homeland security and civil liberties.

On LGBTQ Rights

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In 2015, Pence voted in favor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that allowed businesses to discriminate against and refuse service to individuals based solely on their sexuality because it was a business' religious right to do so. He was also in favor of banning same-sex marriage, due to his "Christian faith."

Not only did his stance on LGBT rights have negative social consequences, it was also bad for the economy. Indiana's economy lost $60 million in revenue due to the bill.

On Reproductive Health

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In the realm of reproductive health and rights, Pence is firm on the right to life for the unborn. In 2011, he voted in favor of banning federal health coverage of abortion. According to his issues record, Pence also voted in 2008 to restrict the transportation of minors across state lines to access abortion care, even though the state of Indiana requires parental consent for minors seeking the procedure.

Beyond abortion access, Pence voted against federal funding for Planned Parenthood in 2011, according to his voting record, even though 80 percent of PP patients receive services for pregnancy prevention. Planned Parenthood also offers important affordable care to low-income communities, such as services for pap tests, breast exams, and STD testing.

On Immigration

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On immigration, Pence voted in favor of former President George Bush's 2006 Secure Fence Act to build a 700-foot-long fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. The budget allocated $1.2 billion to border security and fencing. Arguments in favor of the Secure Fence Act suggested that "there is no more defining issue in our nation today than stopping illegal immigration," according to Pence's voting record.

Pence was also opposed to allowing Syrian refugees to relocate to Indiana, even though he indirectly called out Donald Trump on Twitter for his "unconstitutional" and "offensive" rhetoric in favor of banning Muslims from entering the United States.

On Homeland Security And Civil Liberties

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In October 2001, then-President George Bush passed the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (PATRIOT Act). The law would allow wiretaps and the surveillance of anyone suspected of terrorist activity — even if they weren't affiliated with a known terrorist organization. The law also allowed the indefinite detention of immigrants and gave law enforcement the authority to search a property without the owner's consent.

In 2005, Pence voted in favor of making the PATRIOT Act permanent, which would put American's civil liberties and constitutional rights at risk. He also voted in favor of extending the law's use of wiretaps in 2011 and voted against the requirement of obtaining a FISA warrant for a wiretap on U.S soil, according to his voting record.

Trump has consistently suggested that his policy platforms would include a border wall, punishment for women seeking abortions, and to treat national security with "force, purpose, and determination." And Trump may have found the guy for the job.