Democratic Party Chair Kaine Upsets Abortion Advocates With Choose Life Bill OK

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 31, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democratic Party Chair Kaine Upsets Abortion Advocates With Choose Life Bill OK

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 31
, 2009

Richmond, VA ( — Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine may support legal abortions but he has signed two bills that are causing some to question why he is the national Democratic Party chairman. Kaine signed a Choose Life license plate bill but also signed a measure blocking taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The decision puts Kaine at odds with President Barack Obama, who overturned an executive order earlier this month and made taxpayers fund the controversial research that involves the destruction of human life.

Obama made Kaine the head of the Democratic Party after he was elected last November.

The bill Kaine signed prohibits money from a state fund form going to organizations or businesses that engage in "research in Virginia on human cells or tissue derived from induced abortions or from stem cells obtained from human embryos."

Lynda Tran, the governor’s communications director, told CNN that Kaine’s decision to sign the bill is "in keeping with his faith and his personal beliefs."

"The governor is opposed to the use of state funds to fund embryonic stem cell research, but he generally agrees with the national platform broadly, that there are scientific values to stem cell research," Tran said. "In Virginia, where there has been strong opposition to embryonic research, he has made it a choice to focus on other forms of research like adult and placental stem cell research."

But Kaine’s decision to sign the Choose Life license plate bill is not going over well with abortion advocates.

NARAL president Nancy Keen said, "It is unfortunate that, even after receiving thousands of messages from Virginians and pro-choice activists across the country, Gov. Kaine has opted to sign [the bill]."

And Paulette McElwain, the president of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood told Politico, “It is surprising that Governor Kaine would do this, but it’s all the more surprising that he would do it as chair of the DNC."

“We provided him with abundant information,” she said. “We’re terribly disappointed that he decided to sign it.”

In comments today during his monthly call-in radio program on WTOP in Washington, Kaine said he reluctantly signed the bill.

"It is pretty clearly the case," he said, noting that decision to purchase a $25 specialty plate is strictly voluntary.

"It’s all about choice," he said. "I kind of wish Virginia didn’t do this," he said of issuing specialty plates.

Kaine is a Catholic who is personally pro-life but frequently upsets both sides of the abortion debate. He supports legal abortions but also supports some abortion limits.

Though he signed the Choose Life plate bill into law, the bill also contained other license plates for other groups and Kaine issued a statement saying he thinks Virginia residents have a right to the specialty plates they want.

Kaine also upset pro-life advocates saying he would sign a pro-abortion bill if abortion advocates brought one to the legislature and got it approved.

Fellow Democrat Mark Warner, now Virginia’s junior U.S. Senator, vetoed similar "Choose Life" legislation in 2003 while he served as governor.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.