Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine and the “I’m Personally Opposed to Abortion” (and Slavery) Cop-Out

Hillary Clinton has chosen Roman Catholic Senator Tim Kaine as her Vice President. Kaine is often described as a “pro-life Democrat.” He’s not. Consider the following from his interview on “Meet the Press” (June 26, 2016):

“People use labels all the time. But I’m kind of a traditional Catholic. I don’t like it personally. I’m opposed to abortion. And personally, I’m opposed to the death penalty. I deeply believe, and not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions. So I’ve taken a position which is quite common among Catholics. I’ve got a personal feeling about abortion, but the right role for government is to let women make their own decisions.”

Kaine has gotten hearty approval from the leadership at Planned Parenthood. PP president Cecile Richards said that she was “very enthusiastic” with Hillary’s pick of Kaine. “He’s been a great senator. He has had a 100% voting record in the U.S. Senate,” Richards said. “He’s been a strong ally.”

Kaine’s position on abortion is similar to the position of current Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is Roman Catholic, and if there is a consistent voice of opinion in the Church, it’s that abortion is a grave moral wrong. Biden has taken what he describes as a “middle-of-the-road position”:

“I remember vividly the first time, in 1973, I had to go to the floor to vote on abortion. A fellow Senator asked how I would vote. ‘My position is that I am personally opposed to abortion, but I don’t think I have a right to impose my few on the rest of society. I’ve thought a lot about it, and my position probably doesn’t please anyone. I think the government should stay out completely. I will not vote to overturn the Court’s decision. I will not vote to curtail a woman’s right to choose abortion. But I will also not vote to use federal funds to fund abortion.’”

When someone states that he or she is “personally opposed” to something, my first question is, “Why?” What is it about abortion that you oppose? This question is almost never asked of the “I’m personally opposed but” (IPOB) crowd.

I can see using the IPOB argument for “I’m personally opposed to smoking cigarettes,” or “I’m personally opposed to drinking alcohol,” but I don’t see how the IPOB argument works for abortion. So we’re back to why Biden and Kaine are personally opposed to abortion? Is it because abortion snuffs out a human life? If this is the reason, then being personally opposed must transfer over to the civil arena. If what is growing inside a woman’s womb is not a human life, then there is no reason even to be personally opposed.

The reason a person can be personally opposed to cigarette smoking and alcohol is that the damage is personal. A preborn baby is not a part of a woman’s body. An unborn baby is a separate biological entity with his or her own unique DNA. An unborn is protected in a sack of tissue that is completely separate from the mother otherwise the mother’s immune system would attack it.

An unborn baby is not like a diseased appendix or lung. What is born is another human being.

I’m sure there were people who said they were personally opposed to slavery, but they were unwilling to impose their personal morality on slave owners.

My guess is that Biden and Kaine would fall back on the argument that there is a separation between Church and State, therefore, it would be inappropriate for him to mix religion and politics. But the church is also against slavery, rape, murder, and a whole host of other moral wrongs. Does he abstain from imposing these moral views on the electorate?

The next fall-back position would most likely be that abortion is the law of the land. It is, but so was slavery.

Continued research and technological advances have created a dilemma for the medical profession and today’s crop of pro-abortion politicians. Now that babies can be saved at 24 weeks, what does this do to the argument that a woman has a “right” to do what she wants with her body through the entire ninth months of pregnancy, and in some cases beyond? In the May 16, 1988, issue of Newsweek, the dilemma is observed with no answers offered:

“And — perhaps most troubling of all — if it is possible to save babies at 24 weeks, then how can we justify legal abortions at that point? Has medicine outpaced law? Progress in the nursery is forcing us to confront basic issues. ‘Science and technology don’t have the power to tell us when life begins,’ says Arthur Kaplan of the Center of Biomedical Ethics at the University of Minnesota. ‘What they do have is the power to give us information and evidence which we must reckon with as we try to draw lines between life and death, fetus and person, mother’s rights and baby’s rights.’”1

There is more than enough evidence to show that unborn babies are human beings. What else could they be? It’s interesting that Nancy Pelosi appealed to the history of the Roman Catholic Church going back to Augustine (354–430) to support her pro-abortion views.

Don’t you just love these people? We’re told that we have to keep our religious views separate from practical politics, but it’s OK to appeal to the Church when Liberals/Progressives can find some scant thread of support buried in the penumbra of religious texts. They can’t have it both ways.

As the above quotation from Newsweek shows, a lot has changed scientifically in 1600 years. Here’s what Pelosi said when asked about when life begins:

“I would say that as an ardent practicing Catholic this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is over the centuries the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said three months. We don’t know. The point is it that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.”

In reality, Pelosi does not care anything about Augustine, the Church, the Bible, or science because it’s all about a “woman’s right to choose.” The question remains: “Choose what?” What is the woman choosing to abort? That’s the question that seems no one wants to ask.


  1. Barbara Kantrowitz, “Preemies,” Newsweek (May 16, 1988), 64. 

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Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

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