It's easy to dismiss Tim Kaine as the human embodiment of an Applebee's Gift Card, due to his dad-like disposition and bizarre penchant for the harmonica. Upon further inspection, however, the Virginia senator has some backward AF views on reproductive rights that totally contradict those of his running mate, Hillary Clinton.
[I've] been for the Hyde Amendment," Kaine told reporters. "I haven't changed my position on that.”
May we offer a modest proposal, Kaine? Maybe it's time you did.
The Hyde Amendment has drawn criticism from pro-choice activists because it harms women of color and poor women who are more likely to rely on government-funded health programs. Both Clinton and the Democratic Party have vowed to repeal the law's restrictions as well.
Before we get into Kaine's murky abortion rights past though, let's talk about why the Hyde Amendment sucks:
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that all women have a constitutional right to abortion. Fund Abortion Now found that federal Medicaid paid for over one-third of all abortions performed in the U.S. in the first years after Roe v. Wade. This funding seemed life-changing for low income women seeking abortions, but those halcyon days were short-lived.
In 1976, Republican representative Henry Hyde introduced the Hyde Amendment to shut down federal funding for abortion. He designed the amendment to make poor people's lives a living hell — and even admitted it in front of his fellow congress members.
"I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman," Hyde said when he proposed the bill. "Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the...Medicaid bill."
Hyde's bill achieved exactly what he intended it to — ruin the lives of people who rely on Medicaid for healthcare.
"Because of the Hyde Amendment, low-income people sell their belongings, go hungry for weeks as they save up their grocery money, or risk eviction by using their rent money to pay for an abortion," Fund Abortion Now reports. "Some of them never manage to get the money they need to pay for their abortion – which means that they are forced to carry the pregnancy to term."
Targeting poor women and women of color is bad enough, but the Hyde Amendment's impact is even more widespread and terrible: It directly affects people who rely on other government programs, like the military's TRICARE program, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Peace Corps, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to American Progress.
It isn't surprising that Kaine supports the Hyde Amendment since his views on reproductive rights are as muddled and confusing as the ingredients in a TGI Friday's Mudslide. In June, he told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that he's personally "opposed to abortion," but that "the right role for government is to let women make their own decisions."
That's quite a departure from his stance in 2005, when he said he supported Virginia's 24-hour waiting period on abortion, approved funding for "crisis pregnancy centers," and for some reason, signed a bill to create "Choose Life" license plates.
It's pretty terrifying that a potential VP is still supporting the awful Hyde Amendment, but it's not really surprising. If he's our next veep, we sincerely and deeply hope that he'll stay out of any and all uterus-related decisions.
Revelist has reached out to the Democratic National Committee for comment.