- - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Observers of the abortion debate may feel a little whiplash watching the roll out of Tim Kaine’s vice presidential nomination. His position on abortion has changed over the years, and multiple times just over the last few days. He was for the Hyde Amendment before he was against it, but as of Friday morning, he was claiming to be in favor of it again. He is trying to square a circle in his attempts to line up his supposedly “traditional Catholic view” on the issue with Hillary Clinton’s position of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. Perhaps the impossibility of reconciling the two is what accounts for Mr. Kaine’s flip-flops during the past week.

Running for governor 11 years ago, Mr. Kaine invoked his faith in opposition to abortion, supported pro-life laws and promoted adoption as an alternative to abortion. In 2008 he said, “I’ve supported restrictions on abortion, not all on the left have appreciated it, but I think it has been important to do that because there’s a moral gravity, I think, to abortion as an issue that has to be respected.”

However, Mr. Kaine’s respect for the moral gravity of the issue seemed to completely dissipate when he moved up to national office. In the Senate, Mr. Kaine’s voting record received a crystal-clear 100 percent score from the abortion lobby. He even voted to allow late-term abortions, opposing a bill to ban the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Tim Kaine “evolved” still further once he was under consideration for VP, knowing how dogmatic the Democratic Party has become and how unqualified he would be in the eyes of Hillary Clinton if he retained any shred of defense for preborn lives. To improve his resume he quietly co-sponsored pro-abortion legislation in the Senate that would wipe out all state abortion restrictions, including those he signed as governor.

He even privately agreed to support Hillary Clinton’s agenda for taxpayer-funded abortions. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager went on CNN to announce Mr. Kaine’s shift on the Hyde Amendment. “He has said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde Amendment.”

Author James Bernard Frost once commented, “The saddest thing about selling out is just how cheaply most of us do it for.” For Mr. Kaine, however, the payoff was big. After his private pledges of fealty to the full abortion agenda, the offer was made to run as Hillary’s choice for vice president.

Yet Mr. Kaine continues to maintain that he has a “traditional Catholic personal position.” This is misleading, at best, and manipulative. Since Mr. Kaine himself has invoked his religion to defend his position on abortion, let’s examine what the leader of his religion has to say on the topic.

Pope Francis rebuked politicians for just this kind of misrepresentation. “Abortion is not a theological problem. It is a human problem, medical. One person is killed to save another. It is evil in itself, it is not a religious evil, it is a human evil.”

Pope Francis has also said, “So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life.” In the face of such injustice, “It is wrong, then, to look the other way or to remain silent.”

Mr. Kaine’s position could be called many things, especially because there have been so many of them. But it certainly can’t be called traditionally Catholic.

In any event, Mr. Kaine’s personal religious views are irrelevant, because the public beliefs of the Clinton-Kaine ticket are eminently clear. He and his running mate believe that unborn children, even those late in pregnancy, can rightly be subjected to the cruelty of abortion, and that taxpayers should foot the bill. Any obfuscations to the contrary look like nothing more than a calculated move to attract Catholics and other values voters.

Maureen Ferguson is senior policy adviser for the Catholic Association.

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