Tim Kaine Supports The Hyde Amendment — Or Does He? It’s Hard To Keep Up.
When the Democratic presidential nominee chose Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate, it seemed like an OK choice. Except that his stance on abortion is a little confusing. Even though he mentioned that he would be willing to support overturning it, it looks like Tim Kaine supports the Hyde Amendment after all. My head is spinning from all the circles he’s run around the issue.
Here’s the thing, Kaine is pro-choice personally, but he supports a woman’s right choose, which means he’s actually exactly what women need: a politician to explain to the closed minded that even if America makes abortion legal (and available) for all, it doesn’t mean they have to have one. You can be pro-life at home but all about giving a woman the right to choose what’s good for her own body and livelihood. Especially if you are a man.
So, what’ the deal with the Hyde Amendment? It’s a 40-year-old rider attached to any fucking federal funding bill, especially Medicaid, that says no federal money can go to anything having to do with abortion. Which is pretty much why every budget blows when it comes to women’s health. It’s what’s holding up the Zika emergency funding right this very minute, actually. Kaine originally said he would be open to repealing it, but then on Friday morning, he said he has not changed his position in support of the amendment in an interview with CNN.
What gives, Tim? NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other pro-choice advocates originally backed the Clinton pick, even though he signed a bunch of anti-abortion bills as governor of Virginia. On Friday, NARAL issued a statement on Twitter saying that Kaine’s position was “deeply disappointing.
Repealing the amendment was also written into the DNC party platform during the convention this week. Diversity of opinion is good for democracy, but Kaine might have to get on board.
After the interview Friday morning, the Clinton campaign was quick to clarify Kaine’s remarks. Much like the right to choose overall, it seems like Kaine will stick to the idea that he personally supports the Hyde Amendment but will support the potential Clinton administration’s position on it.
This is a little troubling because one of the best things about having a female in the White House, and especially one like Clinton, who even spoke directly to women’s reproductive health in her nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, is that it’s a real chance to start getting rid of shitty laws that keep abortion and access to care just out of reach. You don’t have to love Clinton, but I do think it’s worth admitting that women have a real shot at making some moves if she’s in the White House. It would be more comforting if Kaine were hardcore about it, too.
His ability to put aside his personal beliefs in the name of the greater good is what the Democratic Party is all about. Here’s the thing, though: Kaine’s stance works both ways when it comes to the general election. In some ways, it could draw in voters who are pro-life and have a problem with Clinton’s positions on abortion. In another way, it could lead some social media-loving voters who don’t read past the extreme headlines to think that he, and therefore Clinton, are talking out of their asses when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.
And maybe they are. When it comes to elections and campaigns and convention weeks, who knows what is really going to happen and what’s just lip service to get voters stoked to hand over their vote.
For now, it looks like Clinton’s campaign will reign Kaine in when it comes to talking about reproductive rights. Let’s just hope that in the long run he — and she — stick to the script we got to see this week at the DNC.