If largely white male conservative politicians brought equity issues the same energy they reserve for policing what women do with their wombs, America might demonstrate the exceptionalism they espouse. Vice President Mike Pence brought this point home on Tuesday when he delivered a keynote speech at a luncheon in Tennessee. The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) and the Life Issues Institute hosted the gathering, which was part of the 2018 National Religious Broadcasters Convention.

The American vice president said he believes the United States could see the end of women’s fundamental constitutional privacy right to terminate their pregnancies “in our time,” a right solidified by the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and parsed out more specifically in that case and in subsequent Supreme Court decisions. As Newsweek reported, Pence said,“I truly do believe, if all of us do all that we can, that we will once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law. But we have to do the work.” Pence bragged about this administration’s work to restrict legal abortion access in America and abroad.  

Pence also invoked compassion and the celebration of human life in his speech, despite his role in an administration that routinely and systematically undermines the quality and quantity of Black and Brown lives in America—from the Justice Department to the local, emboldened racist agents of the state to the laissezfaire federal initial responses to Americans in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico who need help rebuilding their lives after last year’s historically horrific hurricane season.

Abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America said the speech shows how the Trump administration wants to “‘normalize’ the idea of a world in which women don’t get to decide their own destinies or control their own bodies.” Studies routinely show that when legal abortion access is restricted, women pursue unsafe processes that can terminate the pregnancies and also gravely harm or even kill the women.