Likely Trump VP pick Mike Pence helped spark the federal fight against Planned Parenthood

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Donald Trump's Top VP prospects: Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence —Trump's reported vice presidential pick — helped launch the federal fight against Planned Parenthood nearly a decade ago.

Republicans have worked tirelessly to defund the organization, which is the nation's largest abortion provider, since the 1970s. But prior to Pence's efforts, most of those battles had been fought on the state level.

If officially named as running mate, Pence's history of fighting abortion could boost Trump's standing as a conservative — the controversial billionaire has long struggled to win the support of the religious right.

Click through images of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence through the years:

24 PHOTOS
Vice President Mike Pence through the years
See Gallery
Vice President Mike Pence through the years

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Derek Karachner, Ian Slatter, Molly Jurmu, Mark Ahearn.

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., talk during the markup of the bill which would establish the Department of Homeland Security.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

(L-R) Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), attorney Floyd Abrams, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and attorney Kenneth Starr speak to reporters in the U.S. Supreme Court Plaza in Washington, D.C., September 8, 2003. Attorneys made arguments during a special session of the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign financing reform law.

(REUTERS/Stefan Zaklin)

Rep. Mike Pence, new head of the Republican conservative caucus, taken in his Hill office. Includes a bust of Ronald Reagan.

(Photo by Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Indiana Governor Mike Pence (L) wave to the crowd before addressing the crowd during a campaign stop at the Grand Park Events Center in Westfield, Indiana, July 12, 2016.

(REUTERS/John Sommers II)

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 07: Mike Pence, R-Ind.

(Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)

MEET THE PRESS

Pictured: Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) left, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) right, appear on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010.

(Photo by William B. Plowman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 13, 2016.

(REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

President-elect Donald Trump takes the stage with Vice President-elect Mike Pence during a rally in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)

Vice President-elect Mike Pence arrives at Trump Tower on December 15, 2016 in New York City. President-Elect Donald Trump continues to hold meetings with potential members of his cabinet at his office.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Tim Kaine, 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, left, and Mike Pence, 2016 Republican vice presidential nominee, speak during the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine arrive at tonight's debate with three main assignments: defend their bosses from attack, try to land a few blows, and avoid any mistakes showing them unfit to be president.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (R) as his wife Karen Pence holds the Bible, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA, left, speaks with Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, at the Chrysler Group transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker majority owned by Fiat SpA, will invest about $374 million and add 1,250 jobs at Indiana factories to boost output of eight-and nine-speed transmissions.

(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Mike Pence--IND

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Reps. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., left, and Mike Pence, R-Ind, share a laugh at a rally to support a House resolution, scheduled for a vote Thursday, that would require a list of earmarks and the names of lawmakers sponsoring them to be contained in committee and conference reports. The rally took place on Cannon Terrace.

(Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

US Republican Representative from Indiana Mike Pence, gestures as he speaks during a press conference at the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, 01 April 2007. Pence and a group of US Congressmen are on a visit to the war-torn country.

(SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., makes marks on the House health care bill as House Republicans gathered in the House Republicans Reading Room in the Longworth House Office Building on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009.

(Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) speaks during a rally on Capitol Hill April 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), thought to be a contender for the 2012 presidential race, also spoke at the rally held on Capitol Hill by Americans for Prosperity in support of spending cuts.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Budget chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., speaks with Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., as they arrive for a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Monday, July 25, 2011.

(Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is seen at the 2015 IPL 500 Festival Parade on May 23, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) while Vice President Mike Pence (C) looks on during a luncheon at the Congress of Tomorrow Republican Member Retreat January 26, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Congressional Republicans are gathering for three days to plan their 2017 legislative agenda.

(Photo by Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images)

US Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence dance during the Liberty ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

From left, First Lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, Major General Bradley Becker, Vice President Mike Pence, and his wife Karen Pence review the troops following the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

That gives Pence a major advantage over other potential Trump picks — like retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who said he was pro-choice and earned dismay from many Republicans. He later waffled over his position on abortion rights.

But Pence has a consistent anti-abortion track record. In 2007, while serving in Congress, Pence sponsored an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood by blocking it from receiving Title X grants.

The amendment didn't pass, but he pursued the issue for another four years before the House of Representatives finally approved an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. That measure ultimately failed to become law — but not before it nearly shut down the federal government.

"What's clear to me, if you follow the money, you can actually take the funding supports out of abortion," he told Politico in 2011. "We then have a much better opportunity to move forward to be a society that says yes to life."

Planned Parenthood is prohibited from using federal money for abortions, but typically spends it on other women's health care services, like STD tests and exams to provide contraception. Pence argued that taking away federal funding from health clinics would limit their ability to perform abortions.

"We should end the day when the largest abortion provider is the largest recipient of [Title X] federal funding," he said.

The House has now voted eight times to defund Planned Parenthood. After an anti-abortion group last year released several videos claiming Planned Parenthood was involved in criminal activities, the debate over abortion has only grown more contentious.

Pence has also introduced several anti-abortion measures in his own state since becoming governor — including one this March that prohibits women from having abortions based on the disability status of the fetus, and mandated the cremation or burial of fetal tissue. The law was temporarily blocked by a federal judge following the Supreme Court's landmark abortion decision in June.

"Let the abortion providers provide for themselves," Pence told Politico. "I'd like to continue to be a persistent, respectful voice for the sanctity of life."

RELATED:

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

Rescuer Sees Bumps All Over This Dog's Skin - Then X-Rays Reveal The Tragic Story Rescuer Sees Bumps All Over This Dog's Skin - Then X-Rays Reveal The Tragic Story
20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job 20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going