Mike Pence photo

Remarks by the Vice President at the Susan B. Anthony List Fireside Chat in Murrysville, Pennsylvania

September 09, 2020

MS. DANNENFELSER: So, Mr. Vice President, this is called a "fireside chat," right? (Laughter.) I don't see the fire, but I think the fire is in the belly to win anyway.

Thank you so much for this third stop on our "Life Wins" tour. It's just a privilege to be with you again. I wish we could keep doing it forever, but I know that you might have a couple of other things to do, I hear.

I'm just — let's just — I'd love to ask you a few questions that we think everybody would like to hear your responses on, and one involves the cause that Chloe and Kurt had championed. And I know, as governor of Indiana, you had much involvement in that very issue. I'd just love to hear a little bit about your heart and what you've done on that issue yourself.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Would you all join me in thank Marjorie Dannenfelser and the Susan B. Anthony List for all they've done for life? (Applause.) Marjorie have known each other for a number of years. But to see her really lead all across this nation, to come behind candidates around America — as all of you have — who have stood for the unalienable right to life has been really inspiring.

And I want to thank you for what — what Susan B. Anthony List has done and is doing. Because of your work, because of courageous members of Congress like those who are with us today, I'm proud to agree with you today that life is winning in America. (Applause.)

But to keep on winning, we need to reelect great pro-life conservatives like Congressman Mike Kelly and Congressman John Joyce. Would you all stand up? (Applause.) I think you've been introduced, but these are two principled men who serve Pennsylvania with great distinction. (Applause.)

We need to reelect pro-life men and women all across the country. And while you're at it, come November 3rd, we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House. (Applause.)

But I — I must tell you, to be with Chloe — Chloe and I have met a couple of different times. She's — she's really inspiring, and she did a wonderful job today.

But to your point, both when I was governor of the state of Indiana and — and on the national level, it's been humbling for me to be a small part of the progress that we have made recognizing the extraordinary blessing that Down's children provide to families, and — and to recognize the, the reflexive nature, since Roe v. Wade, of the — of the preference. And we see it literally around the world — don't we? — of the preference that is communicated for adoption where there are Down's children in the womb.

But because of the steps that we've taken, I'm proud to say that more families will be more blessed by incredible young children and lives like Chloe's. And so thanks for your support of that cause as well. It means a great deal.

MS. DANNENFELSER: Well, we're very much hoping it makes its way to the Supreme Court — that very issue. Correct.

So, I have proved that you can plagiarize the Vice President of the United States and not get sued. Because I — (laughter) — we took, at Susan B. Anthony List and in my book — I'm not promoting the book, but if you wanted to buy the book, you could — it's called "Life is Winning," and this Vice President writes the introduction. And we took that line — "Life is Winning" — from your speeches, where you talk about how life is winning in America.

So talk to us a little bit about how life is winning and why.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm very, very humbled by those words. But it's organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List that have contributed mightily to that conclusion. But also it's — it's organizations like the Women's Choice Network, where the choice is life right here in Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

Thirty-five years and seven thousand different times that women chose life because of the compassion and the love that they receive — not just at that organization, but in crisis pregnancy centers all over the country.

I truly do believe that while much is owing to organizations like yours that have supported pro-life leaders; much is owing to men and women in — in public office at every level, including our President, that have stood without apology for life, I truly do believe that the reason why we see more and more young people today embracing the right to life has as much to do with the compassion and the love that's shown at crisis pregnancy centers around America. And I just again want to say thank you. (Applause.) Thank you for putting hands and feet on your faith.

We were on the road together in another city not long ago, and we heard the same stories about young women that are facing crisis pregnancies, sometimes in the most challenging times of their life. And to be able to walk into a place where there's nothing but love and affirmation and people who believe in them and tell them, "You can do this; you can you can choose life," and whether that — whether that means you're going to — you're going to be a mom, you're going to be a parent, or whether that means you're going to give that child up for adoption, that's — those crisis pregnancy centers that have made an incredible difference.

But we have more work to do. We truly do, Marjorie. You and I spoke not long ago. When you look at several recent Supreme Court cases, including a Louisiana case that was very similar to a bill that I signed when I was governor of Indiana as well, that — the Louisiana case that the Supreme Court ruled, by five to four, to strike down was simply a law that said that — that if you're performing abortions in an abortion clinic, that you — you have to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. That seems perfectly reasonable for anybody that cares about women's health.

But this Supreme Court of the United States voted five to four to strike that law down, which leads me to only one conclusion: We need more conservatives on the Supreme Court of the United States, and we need — we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House. (Applause.)

Because the President — it's one of the ways the President kept his word to the American people in the last election. And we're — we're just a short time away from when the President is going to do it again.

You all remember back in 2016, there was a lot of talk about who candidate Donald Trump would appoint to the Supreme Court. And so he did what, to my knowledge, no candidate for President had ever done; he literally published a list of men and women who were all…he did what, to my knowledge, no candidate for President had ever done. He literally published a list of men and women who were all principled conservatives who will uphold all the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution — people that were known to a wonderful conservative group like the Federalist Society and other great organizations like the Susan B. Anthony list.

We published that list four years ago. Two Supreme Court justices later were chosen off of that list. And in just a short while, President Trump is going to do what the other side says that they won't do. We're going to publish a new list of conservative men and women, from which we will make appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States. (Applause.) That's leadership. And that's what, in the building I work in, we call "promises made, promises kept." (Applause.)

MS. DANNENFELSER: So it really — it really strikes me that life is winning also because you and the President decided: "We're going to be proud of this issue. We're going to speak of it publicly. We're going to make this a public conversation. It's not going to be a back-of-the-bus issue anymore, like it was perhaps in campaigns gone by."

That was really illustrated, I believe, in the Republican National Convention, but it's been illustrated in many ways. What do you — what do you think about that? And, hey, thanks for doing that. (Laughs.) But, yeah, how about that — making it the front and center issue? It took a long time, but thank God you've done it.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, first, thank you for the affirmation. But, you know, I've said for many years: I'm pro-life. I don't apologize for it. (Applause.)

And President Trump feels the same way. I can tell you, he's — I'll never forget — you know this story, but it's a great moment that — many of you took note of the fact, earlier this year before this difficult season through which we're passing struck, President Trump became the first sitting President in American history ever to speak to the March for Life on the National Mall. (Applause.) It was an amazing moment. It was an amazing moment.

There had been Republican Presidents who'd addressed the March for Life — oftentimes a phone call or a video. But President Trump thought it was important to go there.

And I must tell you that — it happened this year, but it might well have happened a few years earlier. Because we were about two weeks in office when the President got an invitation to speak at the March for Life.

And I was there in the Oval Office when the staff informed him that he wouldn't be able to do that that week because the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was in town that day and very important diplomatic meetings would be taking place.

So I was standing next to the Resolute Desk, and I remember looking down at the President and saying — because I could tell he was disappointed about not being able to address the March for Life. And I said, "Well, they invited me too." (Laughter.) And he looked up at me, and he said, "They invited you to the march?" And I said, "Yeah." (Laughter.)

And he said, "Well, I mean, would you want to go?" And I said, "Well, we've gone to many Marches for Life on the nation's capital when I was in the Congress. And when I was running for governor, we'd take our kids down, and we'd bundle them up in January, and we'd go stand for life."

And he said to me, "Well, you should definitely go." And I said, "Go to the March for Life?" He said, "Do it." And so I became the first Vice President in American history ever to address the March for Life on the National Mall. (Applause.)

That's — that's your President's attitude, that's your Vice President's attitude: We stand without apology, like all of you, for the right to life.

And I — and I must tell you that I think that — I do believe that the willingness of men and women in public life — and, to no less extent, in pulpits and places of worship around this country just like this one — to stand for life without apology is the reason why life is winning in America again.

We're winning hearts and minds, and more and more people are stepping forward and saying, "In this, the greatest freest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world, we can be for life, and we can restore the sanctity of life back to the center of American law." And I believe with all of my heart, in our lifetime, we will. (Applause.) I believe we will.

MS. DANNENFELSER: Mr. Vice President, most people don't realize that one of your jobs is to serve as the President of the Senate. And in that role, you break ties, which is a great place to be. And in that role, you're able to — (laughs) — I know you're proud of that. (Laughter.)

And that you were able to fulfill one of those early promises in regard to Planned Parenthood. So can you tell us about that time?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, when I was in the Congress, I had the opportunity to serve with and get to know the late and great Henry Hyde. (Applause.) He was, in every sense, the lion of the right to life, from the early days of the movement. He authored what came to be known as the Hyde Amendment, which is still in law today, which prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortion.

I do think it's noteworthy to point out that Joe Biden had historically always voted for the Hyde Amendment, even though he supported abortion rights. But, a year ago, as a candidate for President, he abandoned that historic position. And now Joe Biden supports taxpayer funding of abortion, right up to the moment of birth.


THE VICE PRESIDENT: But it was Henry Hyde who was retiring, and I had a conversation with him, and he challenged me when he was leaving the Congress. He said, "Mike, I…" He said, "People know you're a conservative…" — and I was leading the House conservative caucus at the time. And he said, "But I also know how strongly you care about the right to life." And he challenged me to do more.

So, the next year, I introduced a bill. It was the first time that any member of Congress had ever introduced a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. But I thought the largest abortion provider in America should not be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title 10. (Applause.) So we introduced the bill.

And by the time I left Congress, we had taken several tries at it and moved forward on it, and it was handed off to some other great members of Congress who continued the work when I went home to Indiana.

But imagine my surprise — it's evidence of God's grace — that I got to sit in the chair and cast the tiebreaking vote the day the United States Senate passed the bill allowing every state to defund Planned Parenthood. (Applause.) And President Donald Trump signed it into law. (Applause.) It was an amazing moment.

MS. DANNENFELSER: Amazing. Just an amazing, grace-filled —

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Amazing moment. And you just heard Paul Mango — who's such a great, principled man, serving at HHS — share about the progress that we've made in that category. And it's very humbling for me to be a small part of it.

MS. DANNENFELSER: What a beautiful moment that was. It —really amazing. Another amazing person, Judge Cheryl Allen, you were just having a little conversation with, a few minutes ago. And she talked about — where is she sitting? Where is she? (Applause.) And she talked about the disproportionate impact that abortion has had in the black community. In New York, alone, more babies are aborted than born. Talk a little bit about that.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, anyone who hasn't studied the founder of Planned Parenthood, who's a part of this movement, should — who is a part of the SBA List, you really should do it. Because we talk a lot about racism in America today, but if you want to understand the — the eugenics movement that founded Planned Parenthood, you'll see at its very core the most mendacious racism imaginable. And I — I won't expand on it, but I'll just — I'll just challenge you all to look at that and to share it. Share it with your neighbors and friends.

But I must tell you — and — and she made her national debut at the Republican National Convention. But we met at a church when I came to Pittsburgh in the wake of the murder of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis. I made time to — to visit African American churches around the country to listen and to pray and to learn.

But I just don't know that I've ever been more inspired or more impressed by a public servant's commitment to liberty and justice for all, and to the right to life, than by Judge Cheryl Allen.

Judge, would you stand up? (Applause.) Would you all mind showing Judge Allen how much we appreciate her principled stand? (Applause.)

Judge Allen spoke very plainly at that first gathering in Pittsburgh and then, in the times that we met since and even through today, about — about her love — her love for the judiciary, her love for public service, but her desire to stand for life in the African American community, stand for life in all of our communities.

And, Judge, I want — I want to thank you. I really do. And we look forward to working with you, shoulder to shoulder, in the cause for life for a great victory on November 3rd here in Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

MS. DANNENFELSER: We also had a little conversation about how important it is to know what you're choosing, that you want to know that you're cho- — choosing the good, and you also want to understand what you're rejecting.

So let's talk a little bit more about the contrast between the two tickets and what they stand for. And perhaps the change of opinion that — that Senator Biden had, and who Kamala Harris has promised to be. Do you have any more thoughts on that?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, we are — I think — I got up this morning — but who's counting — I think we're 55 days away from an election. (Laughter.) And the road to victory goes through Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

So I — I think it's so important to — and we'll be — I'm doing a rally this afternoon. The President did a rally last night in North Carolina. You know, when I go out on the road, literally hundreds of people come out. (Laughter.)

It's a little different for him, but, I mean, it's — (laughter) — but we see great enthusiasm for what we've been able to do.

I mean, we rebuilt our military; we revived this economy. In our first three years, 7 million jobs created. We stood and advanced, with these great congressmen, less taxes, less regulation, more free and fair trade; unleashed American energy. We appointed more than 200 conservatives to our federal courts at every level. And I can tell you, they're all men and women who are committed to all the liberties enshrined in our — in our Constitution and in our founding documents.

So it would almost be enough. And then when you add to that the way this — this President has led with distinction and — and led the American people through the most challenging pandemic in 100 years, where we're — we literally stood up the greatest national mobilization since World War Two. We reinvented testing. We've developed medicines in record time. And I'm convinced, before the year is out, we'll have the first safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, and we'll have millions of doses for the American people. That is a record of leadership and a record of promises kept that would almost be enough.

But to your point, elections are about choices, and the choice in this election has never been clearer in my lifetime. But the stakes have never been higher, because in each one of those categories — whether it be our national security, whether it be public safety, whether it be law and order, whether it be taxes and the economy, and especially when it comes to life and religious liberty — the choice is literally the diametric opposite on the other side.

I mean, many people don't know I actually started in politics as a Democrat. When I was 16 years old, I was the Youth Democrat Party Coordinator in my own home county in Indiana. But when I went off to college, I began to reflect on the values I'd been raised on; and that, growing up in a small-business family, being the namesake and grandson of an immigrant to this country to — from Ireland; to have been raised in the church to believe in the sanctity of life and the preciousness of every person. And I joined the Republican Party when I listened to the voice of my second-favorite President, Ronald Reagan.

But that was at a time where — where I truly do believe we were — we were going into a season where some of our most cherished liberties became the responsibility of — of one party more than another. And when you look at the choice in this election, that's never been more true.

I mean, where President Trump, from early on, has — as you said, "stood boldly for the right to life," both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris stand for a platform and stand with a party that supports abortion on demand right up to the moment of birth. They support taxpayer funding of abortion in this country and expanding taxpayer funding and promotion of abortion around the world. And, of course, we know the kind of judges that they'll appoint to the Supreme Court and other courts around the land: people that will legislate from the bench instead of protecting our most cherished liberties.

So I would say for — for our security, for law and order, for our economy, but most importantly for the right to life, we need four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House. (Applause.) We do.

MS. DANNENFELSER: So, Mr. Vice President, in the couple of minutes we have left, I'm going to be a little unfair and ask you two questions. Figure out — you can figure out if you want to answer both.

But one is: There are canvassers — people going door to door — all over Pennsylvania in this crowd, talking to voters every day.


MS. DANNENFELSER: Those — those voters are Democrats, independents, Republicans. They're — they're who will decide, in large part, who wins in Pennsylvania. And their work is ministry. They reach, certainly, the head, but they also reach the heart of these voters who often have very difficult circumstances. Some who've had abortions, it's the first time anybody's ever brought it up.

So I have a twofold question: Could you encourage them? And, number two, we really want to know how to pray for you and Karen and the rest of your family.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, first off, let me just say thank you — because some are looking on right now, maybe on their iPhones, walking a neighborhood. Thank you for what you're doing. I truly do believe that we're on — we're on the road to victory for November 3rd.

But elections are won one precinct at a time. They're won one neighborhood at a time, one vote at a time. And so I would just say, on behalf of your President, on behalf of all of us who have the privilege of serving and standing for life, now more than ever, reach out to the SBA List, reach out to your local political party, find a way that you can get out and let your voice be heard, and speak to your neighbors and friends.

I mean, you saw this President, the connection that he made — we made history when — when Pennsylvania went — went red on the board on election night.

True story: I was standing right next to him at the campaign headquarters. And he was here, and Melania was next to him, and his kids. And then I was here, and Karen and our kids. And we're in this big room with lots of TVs on the wall. You can look it up on the Internet. It's a pretty entertaining picture. (Laughter.)

But we're watching the returns come in and he — he's taken to — you know, when — you know, when — you know, when a couple of southern states came in, he'd just — he'd reach over to me and go, "Boom, look at that. We got that state." (Laughter.) And I said — I said, "Right. Good." And he said, "Bang, look, we've got — we got — Texas came in. Boom, we got Indiana. We got Indiana." "Great. Great."

But I got to tell you, when Pennsylvania came in, I thought it was going to knock me down. (Laughter and applause.) It's true. You all did it. Mike Kelly told me you were going to do it. I'll never forget, at the national convention, Mike Kelly said, "We're going to win Pennsylvania."

And I really think it was — I think it was a lot of things. It was this President's leadership. It was his vision. It was an agenda to make America prosperous again, to make America safe again. But I — I really do believe — I've gotten to know this state well enough to know that it also was about our values. It was about life and religious liberty.

And so I just want to encourage you just go out and tell that story. Give the — give the people the facts. Tell them what we've done, what we're — what we'll — what we'll continue to do put this country on the path of everything that's always made America strong and good and great and will make America great again.

And lastly, I just would encourage you to pray. I appreciate you asking about how to pray for my family. You know, I always answer that question exactly the same way. And that is that, you know, the sweetest words that I ever hear — and I heard it already today — we — when we pulled the bus over for a little mini-rally — are when people will say, "I'm praying for you."

And you know, when somebody says that to you and you know they mean it, you can tell, right? They're not just being nice. But when people — when you — when you know that people go before the throne of grace in their prayers on a regular basis, you can tell. And it always means so much to me.

But any time — any time people ask me how they can pray for me, I always think — I'm very confident that believers around the country take to heart that biblical admonition to pray for those in positions of authority. And the President feels it; I know I feel it every day.

But I'd just encourage you to pray for my family, who every bit serve as much as we do. I mean, to know — to know the Pences is to know a family. When I ran for Congress, successfully, the first time, our kids were, you know, five, six, and seven. And we'd load them up in the minivan, and we'd drive to the county fair and give our kids the literature to hand out, you know. (Laughter.) You can't turn them down.

But for our family, it now — you know, now I'm proud to say my son is a United States Marine. He's a captain and a pilot — (applause) — married to a wonderful wife, Sarah.

My daughter, Charlotte — I'm incredibly proud of her. You mentioned her earlier. She is a — she is a prolific and pro-life writer. And — (applause) — and she's — and she married my unworthy son-in-law in December, who actually is a wonderful guy — a pilot in the United States Navy who's currently deployed, serving the United States overseas. (Applause.)

And our youngest is a brilliant recent law school graduate, engaged to be married. Had to put off the wedding just like so many other families did, but Dan's a wonderful guy.

But to remember the kids, and especially to remember this incredible woman I've been married to for 35 years. She is — she's in Georgia today. And I can tell you, she is an incredible Second Lady. She's a schoolteacher at a Christian school, two days a week, in suburban Washington. (Applause.) She is a great mom. But she is — she is unashamedly a champion for life.

And so, if you remembered my wonderful wife, Karen, and our kids, that'd be — that'd be a wonderful blessing.

And I just promise you, in return, we're going to continue to work our hearts out — work our hearts out to keep the promises that we made. With the people of Pennsylvania, we're going to continue to stand with this President as he stands for life and for liberty and for all the things that have made this country great. And I'm absolutely convinced if all of us do everything that we need to do, work like it all depends on us, and remember to pray for God's grace along the way, we are going to win a great victory on November 3rd not just for President Donald Trump and for these great, Republican, pro-life men and women, but we're going to win a great victory for life.

So, thank you very much. And God bless you all. It's an honor to be with you.

MS. DANNENFELSER: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Mike Pence, Remarks by the Vice President at the Susan B. Anthony List Fireside Chat in Murrysville, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/343572

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