The Hyde Amendment is one of those issues that seems to cleanly divide Republican and Democratic leaders. The 1976 provision, which has been consistently attached to bills funding the Department of Health and Human Services for 40 years, limits federal funding for abortions. Since 1994, Medicaid has only covered the procedure in cases of rape, incest, or a health threat to a woman’s life. For social conservatives who oppose abortion, this ban on funding is an important feature of federal health policy.
In contrast, the 2016 Democratic Party Platform includes a call to repeal Hyde—the first time the party has taken such a stance, according to a campaign representative. Hillary Clinton has made her opposition to the Amendment clear on the campaign trail. Yet on Friday, her running mate, Tim Kaine, said on CNN that he supports the Hyde Amendment. Although pro-choice groups have praised the Clinton campaign for its full support of abortion and contraception access, the two politicians at the top of the ticket seem to be in conflict.
The Kaine team maintained that the senator has not changed his views—he’s always supported Hyde. “He has also made it clear that he is fully committed to Hillary Clinton’s policy agenda, which he understands includes repeal of Hyde,” said Karen Finney, the communications director for Kaine, in an emailed statement. “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.”