FARMVILLE, Va. — During the first vice presidential debate for the 2016 election, Tim Kaine, the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, reiterated his support for keeping abortion legal despite his own personal identity as a Roman Catholic.
Kaine, as well as Trump running mate Mike Pence, were asked by moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS News to outline an instance when they had difficulty reconciling their faith with their politics.
“Can you discuss in detail a time when you struggled to balance your personal faith and a public policy position?” she asked.
“I try to practice my religion in a very devout way and follow the teachings of my church in my own personal life. But I don’t believe in this nation, a First Amendment nation, where we don’t raise any religion over the other, and we allow people to worship as they please, that the doctrines of any one religion should be mandated for everyone,” Kaine replied.
He said that as a Roman Catholic, he opposed the death penalty, but had to put his beliefs aside to comply with a law allowing for executions while serving as governor of Virginia.
“[F]or me, my faith informs my life. I try and spend a little time on my knees every day. But it all for me begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of every human life,” Pence stated in answering Quijano’s question.
“But what I can’t understand is with Hillary Clinton and now Senator Kaine at her side is to support a practice like partial-birth abortion,” he said. “I know Senator Kaine, you hold pro-life views personally, but the very idea that a child that is almost born into the world could still have their life taken from them is just anathema to me.”
Kaine replied that while he personally is pro-life, “it is not the role of the public servant to mandate that for everybody else.”
“We support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy,” he declared. “That’s something we trust American women to do that.”
He said that Pence wants to repeal Roe and put it on the ash heap of history.
“I think you should live your moral values. But the last thing, the very last thing that government should do is have laws that would punish women who make reproductive choices,” Kaine said. “And that is the fundamental difference between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump- Pence ticket that wants to punish women who make that choice.”
Pence quickly said that he doesn’t support criminalizing women who have their unborn child killed.
“No, it’s really not. Donald Trump and I would never support legislation that punished women who made the heartbreaking choice to end a pregnancy,” he replied.
“Then why did Donald Trump say that?” Kaine asked.
Pence responded that “things don’t always come out exactly the way [Trump] means them.”
“I’m telling you what the policy of our administration would be,” he said.
“Great line from the Gospel of Matthew: From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks,” Kaine interjected.
Pence and Kaine continued to debate the issue, with Kaine asserting that women should be able to have their “choice.”
“I have appreciated the fact that you’ve supported the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of taxpayer funding for abortion, in the past, but that’s not Hillary Clinton’s view. People need to understand, we can come together as a nation. We can create a culture of life,” Pence said. “There are so many families around the country who can’t have children. We could improve adoption, so that families that can’t have children can adopt more readily those children from crisis pregnancies.”
“Governor, why don’t you trust women to make this choice for themselves?” Kaine asked. “We can encourage people to support life. Of course we can. But why don’t you trust women? Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves?”
“That’s what we ought to be doing in public life. Living our lives of faith or motivation with enthusiasm and excitement, convincing other, dialoguing with each other about important moral issues of the day, but on fundamental issues of morality, we should let women make their own decisions,” he asserted.
An estimated 60 million children have lost their lives since the 1973 legalization of Roe v. Wade.