Does he run?
It’s an easy question to ask former Vice President Mike Pence during his last trip to South Carolina, a key early-voting state that can quickly determine the political fortunes of presidential candidates.
But officials familiar with Pence’s visit to the Baptist temple in Florence said White House aspirations are not on the agenda at a conference centered on the ‘post-Roe world,’ as reported on the church’s Facebook page.
Pastor Bill Monroe’s longtime friendship with former state Republican Party chairman Chad Connelly led to talks with the Pence camp and his decision to use the South Irby Street church as a backdrop for his remarks.
Pence has called on all states to ban abortion since the landmark June Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and May headlined a fundraiser at a pregnancy crisis center in Spartanburg.
“He said the vice president wanted to make this statement from a church if possible, because of the nature of it,” Monroe told Sun News. “We believe this is a spiritual and moral issue.”
Current South Carolina law prohibits abortions at around six weeks gestation, with limited exceptions for rape, incest, maternal life, and fetal abnormalities. The Republican-led General Assembly will likely pass a more restrictive ban this year, with the House recently launching public listening sessions that have focused almost entirely on whether to keep the exceptions in place.
Palmetto Family Council President David Wilson said Pence should roll out a “life after Roe” policy aimed at offsetting a Joe Biden executive order that includes protections against medical abortions, broader access to contraceptives and services. legal fees for reproductive health care. providers and patients.
Monroe, who founded Florence Baptist Temple in 1969 from an abandoned theater, serves on the board of the Palmetto Family Council. The church today spans 52 acres and attracts up to 2,000 people to weekly services.
From its inception, Monroe said, the sanctity of life has guided temple doctrine. Despite Pence’s decades of politics, the Wednesday night service will be presented as a church service, not a political rally, he added.
“We view it as a biblical issue at the very root of all morality,” Monroe said. “I know it’s become politicized, and I know it’s become a major political issue in the country, but it’s also, for me, such a spiritual and moral issue.”
Regardless of what Pence might say, his latest appearance in Palmetto State reinforces South Carolina’s coveted role in national politics, Wilson said.
“Having Vice President Pence speak about life after Roe in Florence, South Carolina shows you how important this issue is to conservative voters,” Wilson said. “I welcome all voices who want to come to this state and speak out on issues that matter to conservatives.”
This story was originally published July 20, 2022 10 a.m.