Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Canada’s capital on Thursday for a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over China, trade relations, and the possible ratification of the “new” North American Free Trade Agreement, something that the Trump administration has insisted on calling the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement so as to distinguish it from the nearly-indistinguishable NAFTA it would be “replacing.”
But one thing that Trudeau had on his own agenda for the day was something that perhaps Mr. Pence was not prepared to discuss at length — or at least, so it seemed from the fact that Pence blatantly lied to the Prime Minister about it. Trudeau was determined to bring up the reprehensible record of Republicans in the United States on anti-choice laws being passed in states with GOP legislatures.
Most here in America understand that the laws being passed in Alabama, Georgia, and elsewhere are transparently unconstitutional, but being signed by governors anyway in hopes that they’ll be challenged in court and thus make it all the way to the Supreme Court, where conservatives expect that the newly-installed right-wing Justices appointed by Donald Trump will help the existing conservative majority overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal and thus safer for women across the country.
Trudeau told reporters what he said to Pence at a joint conference:
I highlighted to the Vice President that there was a significant amount of concern amongst Canadians on the new anti-choice laws being passed in American — a number of American states… Canadians and this government will always be a staunch defender of women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose.”
The concern stems partially from the fact that Americans with unwanted pregnancies may begin traveling to Canada to get safe, legal abortions if Roe is overturned, and partially from the fact that much of the world considers bodily autonomy a human right — and thus the restriction of it, a human rights violation.
In response, Pence lied to the Prime Minister, repeating the false overtures that Republicans have been using to pass these bills in the first place:
Our administration has taken steps to stand for the sanctity of life, at home and abroad. What we found troubling is the Democratic Party in our country and leaders around the country supporting late-term abortion, even infanticide.”
There are, of course, no Democratic politicians nor any bills in any legislature anywhere in America calling for “infanticide,” or anything that could be described as infanticide except through the hyperbole of conservative spin. Late-term abortion is legal in many states, and even the recent bills that would change anything about the regulations surrounding that procedure, such as in Virginia, have adjusted only waiting periods and the number of doctors required to certify that the pregnancy would result in harm to the mother.
What’s more, some ninety-two percent of abortions take place in the first trimester, while fewer than one point five percent happen in the third trimester, the period during which it is considered “late-term.”
It’s sad that Republicans have to lie to get what they want — and rest assured, it’s only them that want it — but sadder still that Pence, an avowed, devout Christian, would lie not just like the rest of his party, but straight to the face of a fellow world leader.
Featured image via screen capture