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Presumed Republication presidential nominee Donald Trump announced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his pick for vice president this morning via Twitter. According to the IndyStar, the selection offers Trump "a social conservative whom GOP strategists say will reassure rank-and-file Republicans that Trump can be trusted to pursue their interests."Pence is a veteran politician who spent time in Congress as a US House member and chairman of the House Republican Conference. In 2012, he was elected governor of Indiana. He has often described himself as "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order," which has rarely worked out in favor of women's and LGBT rights.
Earlier this year, Pence, who is staunchly opposed to abortion, signed a severe anti-abortion bill into law in an attempt to further restrict Indiana women's access to reproductive health care. The law would hold doctors liable "if a woman has an abortion solely because of objections to the fetus's race, sex or a disability, like Down syndrome," according to the The New York Times. It also contained provisions similar to the Texas abortion restrictions recently struck down by the Supreme Court.Most controversially, the law would require women to seek funerary services for their aborted fetuses. It was put on hold by a federal judge, who said it would likely be found unconstitutional.Pence has also been a long-time opponent of Planned Parenthood, and his decision to cut funding to the women's health organization in his state has resulted in an HIV epidemic.Last year, Pence captured national attention for making it legal for businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers based on "religious freedom." Despite a loud outcry from business and civic leaders, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law, allowing Indianans who are sued for discrimination to cite their religious beliefs as a defense."The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action," Pence said at the time.Within a week, the state government backpedaled and revised the divisive law.During his time as congressman, Pence repeatedly voted for measures that would criminalize or even ban abortion. He was also against addressing gender pay gaps and giving federal employees four weeks of paid parental leave. And when President Obama signed into law a hate crimes bill—which was passed after the 2009 killings of James Byrd, a black man dragged to his death by three white men in a truck, and gay teenager Matthew Shepherd—Pence said the president was using his position to advance "radical social agenda.""Donald Trump's decision to choose Gov. Mike Pence as a running mate is proof positive that, when he has said that he will supplement his total lack of policy experience by surrounding himself with 'policy experts,' what he really meant was 'extreme ideologues,'" Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement. "For women, for LGBT families, and for the diverse families that make America great, our nation's potential future just got a lot scarier.""In choosing Pence," Hogue continued, "Trump has doubled down on his dangerous, reckless and hateful campaign and once again proven that when it comes to women and families Trump will take away our rights and turn back the clock on decades worth of progress."