Vice President Mike Pence suggested Thursday that abortion rights activists support “infanticide,” echoing false claims made last month by President Donald Trump about doctors killing babies that have already been born.
Speaking alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during their talks Thursday in Canada, Pence said that while he appreciated the ability to speak candidly with Trudeau, he was “very proud to be part of a pro-life administration.”
Pence said he was troubled by what he called “the Democratic party in our country, and leaders around the country, supporting late-term abortion, even infanticide.”
“But those are debates within the US, and I know that Canada will deal with those issues in a manner the people of Canada determine most appropriate,” he added. “For President Trump, for me, for our administration, we’ll always stand for the right to life.”
During a Wisconsin rally last month, Trump accused Democrats of “aggressively pushing extreme late-term abortion, allowing children to be ripped from their mother’s womb.”
The claim that mothers and doctors are permitted to execute a baby after it leaves the womb is incorrect.
Abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy, typically referred to as “late-term” abortions, account for less than 1.3% of all US abortions.
The vice president’s comments come as a number of states are pushing forward bills that restrict abortion, part of a conservative nationwide push to bring a Supreme Court challenge to the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized the procedure in the US.
Trudeau said afterward that during their conversation, he highlighted that there is significant concern among Canadians about the new “anti-choice laws” being passed in the US.
“It was a cordial conversation, but it is one on which we have very different perspectives,” Trudeau added.
Pence called the conversation “respectful” and praised the friendship between the US and Canada despite their contrasting opinions on the issue.
“I know the President appreciates the relationship he has forged with Prime Minister Trudeau and so do I,” he said. “Friends can have differences and still be friends.”
Trudeau, who is staunchly pro-choice, said prior to their meeting that he intended to address the subject with Pence.
“Obviously I’m very concerned with the situation around the backsliding of women’s rights that we’re seeing from conservative movements here in Canada, in the United States and around the world,” Trudeau told reporters Wednesday.
Abortion is legal in Canada and in many cases covered by government health insurance plans, meaning they’re essentially free.
CNN’s Paula Newton contributed to this report.