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Pence Slams Clinton, Kaine Over Taxpayer Funding of Abortion

Tim Kaine, left, and Mike Pence, right / AP
• October 4, 2016 11:27 pm

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Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence called out his Democratic counterpart, Tim Kaine, for flip-flopping on taxpayer funding of abortion.

Pence highlighted his efforts to make Indiana the "most pro-adoption" state in the country, while pointing out that Kaine’s personal opposition to abortion does not change the fact that his running mate, Hillary Clinton, would use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.

"I appreciate 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," Pence told Kaine.

The vice presidential candidates had been asked to talk about a conflict they had struggled with between their faith and politics.

Kaine recalled how Virginia executed several inmates during his tenure as governor despite his personal opposition to capital punishment—a belief rooted in his Catholic faith. He neglected to mention abortion until Pence challenged him on the conflict between the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party. Kaine omitted any mention of the Hyde Amendment in his response.

"On fundamental issues of morality we should let women make their own decisions," Kaine said.

The Democratic Party updated its platform in July to call for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. Clinton has highlighted her opposition to the Hyde Amendment on the campaign trail, and Senate Democrats have blocked multiple bills to combat the Zika virus over Republicans’ inclusion of Hyde Amendment language.

The Clinton campaign’s abortion views are at odds with the majority of Americans, including a large percentage of self-described pro-choicers. More than 60 percent of Americans, including 44 percent of Democrats, oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, according to a Marist poll released in July.

Pro-life and Catholic groups criticized Kaine for flip-flopping on abortion in order to become Hillary’s running mate.

"Tim Kaine’s abortion flip-flops are too-little, too-late for pro-life Americans who are wondering how a politician can call himself a committed Catholic and still receive a 100 percent rating from NARAL," Grazie Pozo Christie, policy adviser for The Catholic Association, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who now works as a pro-life activist, said that the Hyde Amendment has saved lives. She called Kaine "an extremist on abortion" despite his self-described personal opposition.

"The Democrats, including Tim Kaine, have taken the most extreme position on abortion in political history, calling for Hyde to be overturned and for American taxpayers to foot the bill for abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy," she said. "[Kaine] has traded in his watered-down abortion position for the most extreme abortion platform in history."

Pence earned praise from pro-life groups for challenging Kaine on the issue. Mallory Quigley, spokeswoman for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said that Kaine’s embrace of Clinton’s abortion policies was political calculation.

"Gov. Mike Pence has been an unfailing advocate for mothers and unborn children. Unlike Tim Kaine, he has not changed his position in order to get ahead or earn campaign contributions from the abortion lobby," Quigley said.

Published under: Abortion, Mike Pence, Tim Kaine