Mike Pompeo Will Inflict Incredible Harm on Women and Girls Around the World
Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. Secretary of State, will go before the Senate on Thursday as he vies for confirmation as our nation’s top diplomat. The rights of women and girls in America and across the globe are very much at stake in this process.
Pompeo’s long and storied history of working to roll back women’s rights and reproductive freedom while serving in Congress, his extreme anti-choice agenda, and his loyalty to Donald Trump paint a very worrisome picture. For example, Pompeo is against abortion even for survivors of rape. As the Associated Press reported, Pompeo “told The Associated Press that he would not support any other exception that would permit abortions, even in cases where the mother had been raped.” Rape is a weapon of war — a terrible reality that transcends time periods, continents, and countries, making Pompeo’s fringe, ideological position of no exceptions for rape survivors particularly horrifying in the role as Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State of the United States has the potential to do a great deal of good for women and girls across the globe. As the United States’ diplomatic representative on the world stage, the Secretary of State can use the platform to advance the wellbeing of women and girls in U.S. foreign policy, and put their needs front and center in key international conversations. For example, Secretary Hillary Clinton made women’s rights a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy by creating the first ever ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues. Clinton also helped launch the first U.S. strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally. She advanced women’s economic empowerment, and spearheaded public-private partnerships to improve the status of women and girls.
Unfortunately, without a shred of a doubt, Pompeo will work to undermine the progress made in areas of women’s health, reproductive freedom, and the global fight for gender equity and for the rights of women and girls. Pompeo’s particularly alarming record makes perfectly clear that as the president’s top advisor on foreign affairs, he’ll double down on the administration’s expansion of the global gag rule, advise cuts to the United Nations Family Planning Fund, and find ways to undermine programmatic efforts to address global maternal health. If anti-choice extreme politicians want to confirm Pompeo, it will ultimately not come as much of a surprise. But any lawmaker who considers themself an advocate for women cannot in-good-faith vote to confirm him. If they do, they can rest assured they had a hand in rolling back decades of progress.
Mike Pompeo’s Extensive Anti-Choice Record
During his 6 years in the U.S. House, Rep. Pompeo cast 32 votes on abortion and other reproductive-rights issues, all of which were anti-choice. Pompeo’s key actions and public statements hostile toward reproductive freedom follows. Also included below is information about Pompeo’s opposition to LGBTQ rights, gun safety, and religious freedom.
Pompeo took the following key actions on choice-related issues while in Congress:
- Repeatedly cosponsored so-called “personhood” legislation that would make abortion illegal nationwide in almost all cases and ban some of the most common forms of contraception, stem-cell research, and in vitro fertilization.
- Repeatedly voted for a ban on abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect a woman’s health.
- Repeatedly voted to defund Planned Parenthood health centers.
- Repeatedly voted in favor of the Global Gag Rule, which bans overseas health clinics from receiving U.S. aid if they use their own funds to provide legal abortion services, give referrals, or even take a public pro-choice position.
- Voted to eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization that provides family-planning services for women living in extreme poverty around the world.
- Repeatedly voted for the deceptively named “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would effectively ban insurance coverage of abortion for women in the state health exchanges and multi-state health plans, penalize small businesses that choose comprehensive health plans that cover abortion care, and make the Hyde amendment permanent, which blocks coverage of abortion for low-income women, military women, federal employees, D.C. women, and others.
- Repeatedly voted for the Hyde amendment, which blocks coverage of abortion care for low-income women, military women, federal employees, and many more, in a bill establishing a new medical-research fund.
- Repeatedly voted for the D.C. abortion ban, which prohibits the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to provide insurance coverage of abortion for low-income women.
- Voted in favor of criminalizing a doctor based on the reason a woman seeks abortion care.
- Voted in favor of a bill that interferes with the medical practice of abortion care and includes severe penalties for doctors.
- Repeatedly voted to allow hospitals to refuse to provide emergency abortion care, even when a woman’s life is in danger.
- Repeatedly voted to allow employers to discriminate against employees based on their reproductive-health decisions.
- Repeatedly voted to allow employers, insurers and hospitals to refuse to cover and provide medical treatment, such as contraception or abortion care.
- Voted to eliminate the Title X family-planning program, which provides millions of women with health-care services ranging from birth control to breast-cancer screenings.
- Voted for a bill that was supposedly meant to address the Zika crisis, except that it restricted necessary access to contraception and reiterated abortion-coverage restrictions.
- Repeatedly voted for a politically motivated special committee to “investigate” fetal-tissue donation and abortion practice as part of an attack on Planned Parenthood.
- Voted to restrict the use of medication abortion in telehealth systems by banning federal funding.
- Voted to prohibit federal funds from being used by teaching health centers for training in abortion care.
Pompeo received endorsements and donations from far-right and anti-choice groups and individuals during his congressional campaigns:
- National Right to Life endorsed Pompeo and donated to his campaigns.
- Kansans for Life endorsed Pompeo.
- The National Pro-Life Alliance donated to Pompeo.
- The Family Research Council’s ActionPAC, which is designated as a hate group, endorsed Pompeo and donated to his campaigns.
- Anti-choice Govs. Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback endorsed Pompeo.
- Pompeo received a 100% score from the National Right to Life Committee every year he served in Congress.
Pompeo also signed a letter from anti-choice members of Congress asking then-Speaker John Boehner to use parliamentary procedure to undermine the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy, the single greatest advancement in reproductive health care in a generation.
As a member of Congress, Pompeo signed many amicus briefs in support of anti-choice laws and actions. They include:
- A brief in support of an Indiana law that prohibited the state from contracting with any entity that provides abortion care, effectively defunding Planned Parenthood and other clinics, and required abortion providers to read a factually-inaccurate and ideological script to women before they could access abortion care.
- A brief in support of a Washington pharmacy that refused to carry emergency contraception.
- Several briefs in support of challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy.
Pompeo made the following public statements on reproductive-health issues:
- Pompeo has sang numerous praises for the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” in Wichita, Kansas — an anti-abortion event led by Operation Rescue in which protesters blocked access to abortion clinics for 46 days and leading to “Nearly 2,700 Arrests.” The campaign specifically targeted Dr. George Tiller, who was later assassinated by an anti-choice protester. In a floor speech about the March for Life, Pompeo said, “Kansas is a place that has marked a great piece of the history of the pro-life movement. In the early 1990s the Summer of Mercy was held in Kansas, a huge step forward in people speaking out about the tragedy that is abortion.” In another floor speech about the March for Life, Pompeo said, “Kansas has a very special relationship to this March. In 1991 in Wichita, Kansas, a city which I represent, we held the Summer of Mercy where people came together in peace to talk about these lives that should have been protected but had been had not been… I’m very proud of the rich history the contribution that the citizens of the 4th district Kansas have made to this movement.” In a written statement in 2013, Pompeo said, “My own district was the scene of the Summer of Mercy in 1991, when peaceful protesters brought attention to our great cause. Our calls for action at their softest have often been our loudest.”
- Pompeo’s congressional campaign website stated, “Mike believes life begins at conception and ends at natural death. He has great respect for human life on all instances with no exceptions.”
- In an interview, Pompeo said he did not support allowing rape survivors to access abortion care: “I believe that that child — however conceived — is a life and I want very much for that life to continue to exist.”
- Pompeo gave a long speech on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade during which he repeatedly denigrated the decision itself and reproductive rights in general. He called Roe “one of the worst decisions of our United States Supreme Court,” spoke of the “enormous [cost]” of the decision, and stated his commitment to “protect every unborn life.” … “As a Kansan, I hold a deep reverence for the sanctity of life, the solidarity of family, and the solemnity of marriage. I will continue the fight to uphold these fundamental ideals each and every day. I am, and always will be pro-life and will defend life from conception to natural death. I will continue to oppose any taxpayer funding for abortion. I also fully support the traditional institution of marriage.”
- Shortly after joining Congress, Pompeo released a statement after voting for the so-called “Protect Life Act” in the Energy and Commerce Committee: “I’m proud that my first vote on the US House floor was to repeal Obamacare. Now, I’m proud to have made my first recorded vote in Committee a vote to protect the sanctity of life by banning the use of federal funds for abortion. House Democrats were wrong to incorporate the allowance of taxpayer money for abortion within Obamacare last spring. This spring, now that Republicans are here and listening to the will of the American people, we will continue our march toward dismantling this misguided and reckless government takeover of our health care system.”
- Pompeo praised the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, which allowed bosses to deny women birth control coverage: “Kansans should not have to choose between giving up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgoing the benefits of operating as a corporation. Fortunately, the Supreme Court’s verdict is an important step in defending our religious freedom and upholding America’s long tradition of free exercise of religious beliefs. The Court’s rejection of President Obama’s refusal to abide by both the Constitution and congressional authority should make clear that he needs to work with Congress. All Americans, including family business owners, must be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment, yet the Affordable Care Act has threatened this very basic right. Plenty of Kansans start organizations to bring their beliefs into the marketplace, and the Court has rightly affirmed that they don’t surrender their freedom when they open a family business.”
Pompeo released several inflammatory and inaccurate statements about Planned Parenthood:
- “Every human life is a sacred gift from God and should never be subject to the abhorrent and inhumane practices of Planned Parenthood. The stories that have surfaced about such horrific practices and techniques, including the harvesting and sale of fetal parts, reinforce my belief that federal funding for organizations and clinics that perform abortions must be stopped immediately. I am proud to support these two bills that are vitally important to our effort to stop these despicable practices at Planned Parenthood and other organizations and bring every person involved in these illegal activities to justice. This is about common decency and saving lives, and I will continue fighting to protect the unborn in Kansas and across our nation.”
- After voting against funding the government, Pompeo stated that one of the reasons for his vote was that the budget didn’t defund Planned Parenthood: “In the wake of the videos that have surfaced about the horrific, inhumane practices of Planned Parenthood, it is absolutely imperative for Congress to stand up for life and defend human decency. This resolution fails to make any forward progress in holding Planned Parenthood accountable for its actions and making sure these abhorrent practices come to an end.”
A campaign spokesman told a reporter that Pompeo “opposes embryonic stem-cell research and birth control methods that interfere with fertilized embryos.”