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VP Pick Tim Kaine's Stand On Abortion Is At Odds With Catholic Teachings


And Sarah, while you have had a brief break from the campaign trail, our colleague Steve Inskeep was out there. Yesterday, he was in New Hampshire, following Hillary Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine. And in one speech, Kaine quoted the Bible. He asked if Donald Trump as president would pursue American interests or his personal business interests.


TIM KAINE: I've often heard preached in my parish the lesson out of Matthew, no man can serve two masters.

GREENE: Kaine often refers to his Catholic faith. Yet he says it only has so much influence on his public views. And he spoke with Steve Inskeep about that balance.


Hillary Clinton's running mate says he's personally opposed to abortion but politically supports a woman's right to it. He has a 100-percent rating from Planned Parenthood, which led to a question in one portion of our conversation in Exeter, N.H.

To what extent have you had to struggle with when to follow your faith in your public life and when not to do that?

KAINE: I think if you're a person of faith - personal opinion - if you're a person of faith, you're going to struggle. Even if you're not in public life, you're going to struggle because the commands of love your neighbor as yourself - not easy, you know?

And who is my neighbor? - not just my neighbor but somebody I don't even know. That's not an easy command. It's very difficult. So I think you always have to struggle with it. And in public life, yeah, you do struggle. But I do feel very strongly that my Catholicism is about the way I live and the rules that I follow.

And even if I'm - even if they're hard, or even if I don't necessarily agree, it's the rules that I follow. But I don't think my job as a public official is to make everybody else follow the Catholic Church's teaching, whatever their religious background or lack of a religious background.

That First Amendment - again, it's there for a reason. And it says that - not only that you can worship as you choose or not. It also says, we won't have an established religion. We will not put one set of religious doctrines higher than others. And so on many of the questions, you know, that I would struggle with, different religions have different traditions and preach different things.

And I don't think - in fact, I feel this is a really important principle. And it's a moral principle, not just a governing - it's a moral principle. We are better off as a society when we're not trying to enforce the views of one religion over everybody. People can make their own moral decisions.

INSKEEP: Well, tell me something about your own evolution on this. I'm thinking about - when you were chosen as the vice presidential nominee, there were women's groups - women's rights groups - who spoke up about this and said, we didn't always like what he did when he was a local or state official. We do very much like his record in the United States Senate. Have you changed over time in the way that you approach this?

KAINE: I mean, just to give you an example, one of the things that I supported in Virginia and still support is if a minor wants to seek an abortion - that a minor would need parental consent.

But you need to provide a mechanism if the child is in abusive relationship or something like that, where there can be a court hearing to determine whether the youngster is, you know, basically mature enough to make that choice on her own.

That's a rule that a lot of groups, you know, wish was not in place. I supported it. I haven't really changed my view on that. I really basically support the holding of Roe v. Wade, which says, especially early in pregnancy, women get to make this decision on their own.

Government can't burden that choice. But Roe v. Wade did acknowledge that there can be some rules. And there have been some rules that I've supported but others I've opposed.

INSKEEP: Senator Tim Kaine in New Hampshire. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.