How Pence Botched the #VPDebate Abortion Exchange

Last night was the first and only debate between the 2016 vice presidential candidates and, while most in the chattering class predicted it would be a snoozer, it was anything but, Save Jerseyans!

Governor Mike Pence did a remarkable job representing himself, his party and most importantly, representing his boss – – who often claims that he “hires the best people.”

I have to agree; I can’t think of anyone else who could have better handled the rabid interruptions and petulant disposition of Tim Kaine.

Yet for all the positives that came out of last night’s debate, Pence did manage to botch his response to one question in particular: “Can you discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position?”

Pence chose to focus on abortion:

My take:

Pence didn’t actually answer the question regarding how he struggled to balance his beliefs with public policy. Instead, he talked about how his Christian faith informs him and was unclear as to what he and the Donald believe the consequences should be for abortion.

Many “pro-life” Republicans have trouble actually saying what they mean on abortion without referring back to their personal religious views. The reason for this is in part because they allow themselves to be put on the defense by liberals like Tim Kaine who try to frame the argument as “you against women” and “you against women making choices for themselves.” Those are both untrue however when you accept those premises, or as in Pence’s case, don’t challenge them directly, defending your position becomes difficult and it’s easy to fall back on religion.

Science is clear about when life begins. There is no disputing the fact that at conception a new human life is formed. All human life is precious and worthy of protection. The reason abortion is wrong is because it intentionally, brutally ends an innocent human life. In the English language, we refer to that concept as murder. And in America there are consequences for murder. The law is wrong on this and until it changes, I will consider it the most damning example of injustice in America today.

Sound harsh? Good. It’s the truth.

Notice I didn’t refer to “the sanctity of life”? Or my Christian faith? Or what God says in the Bible about the unborn? I do not have to argue on religious grounds to defend the unborn and Pence didn’t have to either.

Until pro-lifers actually address abortion for what it is, and unapologetically speak the truth about the injustice that is abortion, they will continue to sound clumsy and be wholly ineffective at changing anyone’s mind.

Governor Pence botched the abortion issue but, more than that, he should not have used it as an example in response to this question.