Tim Kaine and Mike Pence clash over reproductive rights at VP debate

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence.
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

At the end of Tuesday's vice-presidential debate, both candidates discussed their deeply held religious beliefs and how they mesh with reproductive rights for women.

Pence, an evangelical, said he does "not understand" how anyone can support partial-birth abortion, and if you're "going to be pro-life, you should be pro-adoption." "My faith informs my life," he continued, and he tries to "spend a little time on my knees every day, but for me, it all begins with cherishing the dignity, the worth, the value of every human life."

Kaine, a Catholic, said he believes that people should "live fully and with enthusiasm" based on their faith, but it is "not the role of a public servant to mandate that for anyone else." Kaine and Hillary Clinton both support Roe v. Wade, "the Constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscious, their own supportive partner, their own minister, but then make their own decision about pregnancy. We trust American women to do that." He then brought up Donald Trump's previous suggestion that, under a hypothetical abortion ban, a woman should be "punished" for illegally terminating a pregnancy. "I think you should live your moral values, but the very last thing the government should do is have laws that punish women who make reproductive choices."

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Pence attempted to deflect, saying Trump made those remarks because he's "not a polished politician like you and Hillary Clinton." Kaine went on to say that on "fundamental issues of morality, we should let women make their own decisions," with Pence responding, "A society can be judged on how it deals with its most vulnerable — the aged, the infirmed, the disabled, the unborn."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.