As I watched the only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election, I was excited to hear abortion finally make it into the conversation. Advocates have been pushing for a moderator to #AskAboutAbortion since the primaries in the spring. As someone who has had an abortion, I watched with bated breath as CBS moderator Elaine Quijano asked both candidates about their Christian faith and if there “were any times they struggled to balance their personal faith and a public policy position.”
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, running mate of Secretary Hillary Clinton, answered the question first, citing his Catholic upbringing and his enforcement of the death penalty as governor. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, running mate of Donald Trump, cited his anti-abortion beliefs and the laws he passed to limit access to abortion care and the tax dollars he has funneled into “healthcare counseling for women, non-abortion alternatives,” commonly known as crisis pregnancy centers. He also railed against Clinton’s vow to repeal the Hyde Amendment and later abortion.
In a rebuttal, Kaine continued the conversation on abortion. “So let’s talk about abortion and choice. Let’s talk about them,” said Kaine. “[Hillary Clinton and I] support Roe v. Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. That’s something we trust American women to do that.”