Abortion rights groups, which have been strong backers of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, criticized her running mate Friday for reaffirming his support for a law that restricts federal funding for the procedure.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine told CNN Friday he still supports the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 provision that prohibits federal funding for abortions, even though Clinton's campaign said earlier this week that Kaine agreed privately to help Clinton try to repeal it.
Kaine's latest statement is "deeply disappointing," Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion-rights group, said Friday, adding that the Hyde Amendment prevents low-income women from obtaining abortions and disproportionately affects women of color.
"Repealing the Hyde amendment and providing the full range of reproductive health care to low-income women is a top priority for NARAL," Hogue said.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a statement that her organization will "redouble efforts to educate Senator Kaine on the dangerous impact Hyde has on woman with public insurance coverage."
Kaine's campaign issued a statement Friday saying that although the senator still supports the Hyde Amendment, "he has also made it clear that he is fully committed to Hillary Clinton's policy agenda, which he understands includes repeal of" the measure.
Kaine's views on abortion have been under scrutiny since he joined the Clinton ticket. Citing his Catholic faith, Kaine has long said that he is opposed to abortion, but doesn't want to outlaw the procedure. Despite his personal views, Kaine's voting record in the Senate has received high marks from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
On Tuesday, Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson and Kaine spokeswoman Amy Dudley said Kaine had privately told Clinton he will support repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a reversal of his his long-held position. But Kaine had not publicly announced such a shift.
On Friday, another Clinton spokesman, Brian Fallon, responded to Kaine's latest remarks, writing on his Twitter account that Kaine has "promised to carry out Hillary Clinton's agenda, regardless of his personal position on Hyde."
Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America said Friday that they still support the Clinton-Kaine ticket.
Kaine "has been an outspoken advocate for access to reproductive health care and stands in stark contrast to Mike Pence and Donald Trump," Richards said.
The Democratic Party platform approved this week included a plank calling for repeal of the Hyde Amendment and other measures that "impede a woman's access to abortion."
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