Anti-abortion group pressuring Kaine

Anti-abortion group pressuring Kaine
© Greg Nash

A prominent anti-abortion group is piling pressure on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Gabbard commemorates John Lennon's passing by singing 'Imagine' Bannon: Clinton waiting to enter 2020 race and 'save the Democratic Party from Michael Bloomberg' MORE's running mate, Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills 'Granite Express' flight to take staffers, journalists to NH after Iowa caucuses Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Senate panel approves Trump FDA pick | Biden downplays Dem enthusiasm around 'Medicare for All' | Trump officials unveil program for free HIV prevention drugs for uninsured MORE, to clarify how he would vote if he were needed to break a tie in the Senate on a crucial abortion bill.

“Hillary Clinton’s plan to repeal Hyde is profoundly unpopular — even among Democrats," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, referring to the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding law that limits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.

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"Voters should not be fooled," Dannenfelser said. 

"We know how he would vote on this issue if it comes to a tie in the U.S. Senate. Voters deserve to know that he will not stand up for the conscience rights of taxpayers.”

Kaine, who says he personally opposes abortion but will support all elements of the Democratic presidential nominee's agenda, created confusion over his stance Sunday when he said on CNN’s "State of the Union" that his position on the Hyde Amendment had not changed. 

"On Hyde, my position is the same. I support the Hyde Amendment. I haven't changed that,” he said.

"As the vice president, I have to get comfortable with the notion that I can have my personal views but I'm going to support the president of the United States, and I will."

The Democratic Party voted last month to insert language in its platform backing a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. Clinton is strongly in favor of that policy. 

As vice president, Kaine could be called upon to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. It's on this narrow scenario that anti-abortion activists are pressuring him for a direct answer.

Asked how Kaine would vote in that circumstance, an aide declined to respond. 

"We're just not going to speculating about the future, we're focused on winning in November," the aide said.

Kaine spokeswoman Karen Finney added: "As Tim Kaine has said, while he 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 Hyde. 

"He shares the concern that low-income women and women of color too often face barriers to health care, and for this reason he has been a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and other programs and services that ensure the full range of reproductive health care services for all women."

A number of anti-abortion Democrats have come out against the party's push to repeal the law.

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe US needs to lead again on disability rights No one wins with pro-abortion litmus test New ObamaCare enrollment period faces Trump headwinds MORE Jr. (D-Pa.) was concerned enough about the change to write a letter to the platform committee urging members to reconsider.

“This is a consensus-based policy that has, for many years, prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for abortion,” Casey wrote in a letter to the Democratic Platform Committee and obtained by The Hill. 

Republicans, who in recent years have shied away from campaigning on social issues, see an opening now and believe Democrats have overreached on abortion policy.

Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List spokeswoman Mallory Quigley points to a Marist poll released last week that found 62 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion though 51 percent support the right.

"SBA List has already knocked on 466,000 doors in battleground states of OH, NC, and FL reaching not just pro-life base voters but persuadable Democrats and Hispanics because we think the life issue will resonate with them," Quigley said in an email. 

The anti-abortion group is seeking to create heartburn for liberals after Clinton picked Kaine, an anti-abortion centrist, to be her running mate. 

The group, which is heavily involved in House and Senate races this year, is backing Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE for president, specifically because of his support for anti-abortion Supreme Court nominees.