Fact Check

Did Mike Pence Say 'Allowing Rape Victims to Have Abortions Will Lead to Women Trying to Get Raped'?

Mike Pence did not say that if abortion were allowed in cases of rape, then women would try to get raped in order to have abortions.

Published July 18, 2016

 (Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com)
Image Via Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com
Mike Pence said that if abortion were allowed in cases of rape, then women would try to get raped in order to have abortions.

On 17 July 2016, the web site Newslo reported that Indiana governor Mike Pence, the newly-announced running mate of GOP candidate Donald Trump, had said allowing rape victims to have abortions would lead to women trying to get raped in order to have abortions:

The Republican war on women continues unabated. The same week that conservatives argued in the Supreme Court that employers should be able to stop their employees from getting contraception outside of the company health plan, Indiana joined the ranks of states like Texas and Florida in passing a draconian law that purports to protect women, while in fact, endangering their health by making safe abortion much harder to get. And Gov. Mike Pence recently signed it. The bill is stuffed with as many asinine restrictions on abortion with an eye towards making abortion as miserable and humiliating an experience as possible, and ideally something women can’t get legally at all.

... Pence also tried to offer his opinion on what would have happened had he allowed rape victims to still have abortion. “First and foremost, because this is such a sensitive topic, let me just say that I sympathize with rape victims not just in America, but around the world. I can only imagine what it must be like to experience such trauma,” he said. “However, that does not justify murder, not even that justifies murdering a baby, not in my book. Because what would happen? We’d then have an epidemic of women claiming to have been raped just so they could have an abortion. And that has to be stopped at all cost.”

Donald Trump’s new running mate also said, “Basically, if I’d have said no on the bill, that would be just like giving out get-pregnant-without-fear cards, because at the end of the day, women could have unprotected sex without worrying about what they’d do in the event of pregnancy. And you know, it’s not supposed to be like that ... And it gets worse — when you get an abortion, you get several days off of work and whatnot to recover. And there are a lot of crazy people out there. What if women would go out and get raped on purpose just so they could get off work? I mean, Indiana’s economy is struggling as it is, and having thousands of women absent from their jobs would be horrific for the state, I’m telling you. I made the right call and that will be confirmed in the long run,” Pence concluded.

As with all content on Newslo (and its sister sites Religionlo and Politicalo), the item used a fact-based introduction to lead into counterfactual information. Pence did sign anti-abortion legislation in May 2016 but like all content published by that trio of fake news sites, the article included a "show facts" or "hide facts" button (all content displayed by default in "hide facts" mode):

newslo satire

While the facts of the first paragraph were broadly true (as Pence had signed an abortion bill a few months prior), the remainder of the piece was embellished or entirely fabricated. Pence never said that women would attempt to get raped in order to have an abortion, to obtain days off work or for other reasons.

Newslo and its companion sites most commonly publish articles containing one paragraph of straightforward news and a balance of false information. Prior efforts from the outlets included reports Chris Christie said a female version of Viagra would lead to increased "lesbianism" (and voted down a gender pay parity bill for Biblical reasons), an Alabama politician proposed saliva-based "hunger tests" for food stamp recipients, Ted Cruz said the death of Antonin Scalia was suspiciously timed, and Pat Robertson claimed David Bowie was still alive after his death.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.