Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders talked around abortion during their presidential primary debates. Donald Trump mentioned Planned Parenthood in early debates mainly to say he would defund it.
But on Tuesday night, during the final moments of the vice presidential debate, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine got into it.
This is some unprecedented shit, particularly from a self-described pro-life Catholic:
Hillary and I are both people out of religious backgrounds. Her Methodist Church experience was really formative for her as a public person. But we both really feel like you should live fully and with enthusiasm the commands of your faith. But it is not the role of the public servant to mandate that for everybody else. So let's talk about abortion and choice. Let's talk about that.
We support Roe versus Wade. We support the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience, their own support of partner, their own minister. But then make their own decision about pregnancy. That's something we trust American women to do that.
And we don't think that women should be punished, as Donald Trump said they should be, for making the decision to have an abortion. Governor Pence wants to repeal Roe vs. Wade. He said he wants to put it on the ash heap of history.
We have some young people in the audience who weren't even born when Roe was decided. This is pretty important. Before Roe vs. Wade, states could pass criminal laws to do just that, to punish women if they made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.
I think you should live your moral values, but the last thing—the very last thing that government should do is have laws that would punish women who make reproductive choices. And that is the fundamental difference between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump-Pence ticket that wants to punish women who make that choice.