Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine opposes abortion because of his Catholic faith — and Hillary Clinton selecting him as her running mate on Friday was "a symbolic kick in the teeth for the feminist organizations that faithfully championed Hillary over Bernie throughout the long primary season," Slate
blogger Nora Caplan-Bricker said.
While Kaine has said he supports the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion rights, "his personal beliefs have sometimes seemed to influence his public policy making," Caplan-Bricker said, "making his selection an optical, and perhaps actual, move toward the center for Hillary."
She noted that Kaine ran for governor in 2005 promising to promote adoption, reduce abortion, "and support the farce that is abstinence-only sex education."
But while in the Statehouse in Richmond, he backed a "partial birth abortion ban" that barred certain later-term procedures except in cases that endangered a woman's health.
Kaine also supported a parental consent law requiring minors to obtain permission before getting an abortion, though certain restrictions prevent teens from using the "judicial bypass" option in the law, she said.
The governor also has ties to the Commonwealth's "informed consent" law, Caplan-Bricker continued. It primarily requires women seeking abortions to submit to a "medically unnecessary ultrasound."
In 2008, Kaine said that the law would provide "women with information about a whole series of things, the health consequences … and information about adoption."
But the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports reproductive rights, learned that many states provide women with "incomplete or inaccurate information," contending that laws like Virginia's "amount to 'informational manipulation' of women in already vulnerable situations," she said.
"Still, symbolism matters in politics," Caplan-Bricker concluded. "As a popular moderate from a battleground state, Kaine is a savvy choice in lots of ways, and Clinton may have correctly calculated that, after all her years advocating for women's rights, feminists will stand by her regardless.
"But it's hard to get excited about Kaine," she added. "Worse, his selection begs the question of whether, on an issue that had seemed so near and dear to Clinton's heart, we can be sure that we know where — or at least how firmly — she stands."
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