VP Debate: Pence Gets Called Out for Supporting Policies that “Punish” Women, Turn Women Having Abortions Into Criminals

Oct. 4, 2016
Contact: Christie Petrone, 646-520-3504, [email protected]

Women Have Already Been Jailed in Indiana and Other States for Ending A Pregnancy

Statement from Andrea Miller, President,
National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund:

“During the vice presidential debate, Gov. Pence touted his anti-choice credentials, reiterating his support for policies that punish women and have the logical outcome of turning women and their doctors into criminals for having or providing abortions.
“In Congress and as governor of Indiana, Pence supported some of the most extreme legislation on abortion in the nation, co-sponsoring bills that would clearly make abortion illegal in a manner that would make penalize women and doctors. Indiana is now one of the most hostile states for women seeking abortions, with more than a dozen restrictions, including bans, mandatory delays, biased counseling requirements, and prohibitions on insurance coverage of abortion.
“The implications of these laws are not purely hypothetical: Women have already been prosecuted and jailed for ending their pregnancies — including in Indiana, where Purvi Patel was jailed and sentenced to 20 years in prison on Gov. Pence’s watch, until an appeals court overturned her conviction last month. Patel is just one of at least 17 women across the country arrested or convicted in connection with alleged self-induced abortion in recent years. Efforts to enact state laws that would outlaw abortion and criminalize women have been proposed this year alone in Florida, Oklahoma, and Ohio.
“The policies supported by Gov. Pence and Donald Trump — and endorsed in the 2016 Republican National Committee platform — would have dire consequences for women and health care providers. The stakes are too high to allow these candidates to keep dodging the central question: ‘You say you want to make abortion illegal, so how much time should a woman serve?’ Voters deserve to know.”


The National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization, conducts legislative and political advocacy to protect reproductive rights and advance access to care, including through partnerships in states and cities nationwide. The Action Fund previously operated as NARAL Pro-Choice New York.