A mother who beat her son with a coat hanger has said a law signed by Mike Pence last year allowed her to do so.

The Indiana mother says Pence’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), updated last year, protects her right to beat her child.

The evangelical Christian Kin Park Thaing, cited the bible in saying anyone who “spares the rod, spoils the child.”

Lawyers for Thaing cited the Proverbs 23:13 in saying: ”Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”

Teachers alerted authorities after seeing him flinch when they patted him on the back.

Red welts were seen on the boy’s back, and the Indianapolis Star notes that Riley Hospital for Children found 36 bruises on his back and arms.

One bruise on his cheek was in the shape of a coat hanger.

According to some, Thaing might successfully use the RFRA in her defence, and win the case.

The RFRA has been criticised for effectively legalising anti-LGBT discrimination based on religious beliefs.

Pence stirred up international outrage last year when he signed the controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, which gives businesses the right to discriminate against LGBT people on the grounds of religion.

Governor Pence has previously suggested that HIV prevention funding be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy, and earlier this year appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality.

But a fresh investigation from Right Wing Watch has found Pence published extreme anti-LGBT articles when he was the head of the Indiana Policy Review in the 90s.