U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine said he was “pleased” about the White House’s decision Friday to alter its rule on contraception in announcing that religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees and that the responsibility would fall to private insurers.
“There are some who have wrongly used this debate to pit women’s rights against freedom of religion,” Mr. Kaine said in a statement released by his campaign. “The steps taken by the White House show that there is a way to respect both. From the day the new regulations were announced, I’ve encouraged the White House to find a better solution that embraces and protects both access to contraception and religious freedom, and I am proud to support the new steps announced today.”
Mr. Kaine, a Roman Catholic, was one of the first prominent Democrats to break with the Obama administration on the announced policy — notable because of his close relationship with the president and support of his policies throughout the campaign thus far. Mr. Kaine has said he has a “faith-based” opposition to abortion, but opposes overturning the Roe v. Wade decision and said that throughout his career, he has been “a strong supporter of a woman’s right to make her own health and reproductive decisions.”
Mr. Kaine also opposes the death penalty, though he oversaw 11 executions during his time as governor of Virginia and commuted one death sentence. Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, his opponent in the 2005 gubernatorial race, ran the infamous “Hitler” ad during the campaign that claimed Mr. Kaine was so opposed to the death penalty that he said even the Nazi mass-murderer didn’t qualify for it. The ad, however, backfired and was resoundingly denounced.