Charlotte Pence Bond likes to joke that she isn’t very political.
She is the daughter of Vice President Mike Pence, and her name has been popping up in the pro-life movement as she follows her father’s legacy of defending the rights of the unborn.
Pence Bond has a busy life between finishing her graduate degree at Harvard Divinity School, settling into married life (she and her husband married in December), spending time with her parents on the campaign trail and working with pro-life organizations. She also just launched a new podcast, “Doubting It,” to explore questions of faith and doubt with Christian leaders.
Last week, she spoke with LifeNews about her work, family and her passion for the rights of the unborn.
Growing up, Pence Bond said being pro-life was just part of her Christian upbringing. She remembered going to the March for Life when she was young and hearing how her father left the Democratic Party because of its support for abortion.
Then, as a young adult, she began thinking more about the issues that she really cares about, and abortion became one of her top priorities.
“I joke that I’m not that political,” she told LifeNews when asked why she chose to get involved in one of the most contentious political issues of the day.
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While pro-life laws and public policies are important, Pence Bond said she wants to focus on reaching hearts and minds about the value of every human life.
“It seemed more cultural to me,” she said. “[Abortion] is a political issue, but to reach people who are on the fence or pro-choice, is to reach people in the culture.”
Like many young people, Pence Bond said she believes abortion is a social justice issue, a problem of oppression against the most vulnerable. In minority communities especially, she noted, unborn babies and mothers are targeted for abortions.
“Yes, abortion is a violation of providing life to a human being — but it should also be acknowledged as oppression in its barest form. It ostracizes the weaker members of society, and it places a particular burden on minority communities,” she wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Times last year.
Lately, she has been working with Students for Life of America and speaking to young pro-lifers about defending life with love and compassion.
“I like to talk to young people about staying strong and standing for life, but to do so in a kind way because that’s where I think it’s going to change and turn the tables on the abortion culture,” she said.
Being pro-life on campus is not easy, and Pence Bond said she admires the students who speak out against the cultural narrative that abortions are normal.
“On a college campus, it’s not easy to stand up and say, ‘Come ask me questions about being pro-life.’ I’ve really been very, very impressed with them. They’re very unwavering,” she said.
Through thoughtful discussions, outreach to pregnant and parenting moms and overall compassion, she said pro-lifers can change hearts for the unborn. She saw it in August when she and her father toured A Woman’s Place in Florida. It was the first ever visit by a vice president to a pro-life pregnancy center.
“Pro-life people hear the argument that you don’t care about the baby once its born, but that’s not true,” she said. “I think a lot of [pregnancy centers] have done such an amazing job. … They’re helping moms envision that they can do this.”
Pence Bond said pro-life pregnancy centers present a huge a contrast with the messages of the pro-abortion movement. She said abortion activists claim to be empowering women by advocating for abortion, but “really, the underlying message is, ‘You can’t do this. You can’t go to college.’ And you see celebrities openly saying they wouldn’t be successful if they didn’t have an abortion.”
Pro-lifers, on the other hand, approach pregnant women with empathy and help them on their journey to parenthood, she said.
“As long as we can stand strong for life but also say we’re not going to judge you … it’s a way we can really change the culture,” she said.
Of course, protecting unborn babies under the law is important, too, and Pence Bond is proud of her father’s and President Donald Trump’s strong pro-life record. From defunding Planned Parenthood to appointing conservative judges and speaking at the March for Life, she said the president has fulfilled his promises to pro-life voters.
“It’s been amazing to see how Trump has done so much,” she said. Abortion is “such a contentious issue and people stay away from it, but he has been speaking up strongly.”
She urged pro-lifers not to shy away from the issue either but to practice humility as they discuss the value of unborn babies with pro-choice family and friends.
With the election approaching and Americans so divided, Pence Bond encouraged pro-lifers to keep up the good work for life. Through relationships, compassion and love, she said pro-lifers will change the culture and more people will begin to understand that every human life is valuable.