U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said this week that he does not support provisions in a Virginia Democrat's bill that would ease restrictions on third-trimester abortions.

Kaine, a former Virginia governor, told Capitol Hill reporters Thursday that he does not support the changes included in failed legislation filed by Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax.

"I support the existing Virginia law, which has been in place since the mid-70s and it puts conditions upon a third-trimester abortion," said Kaine, according to a transcript provided by his office. "I support the existing law, not the Tran bill. I don’t think the existing law needs to be changed."



As a Catholic, Kaine has long said he personally opposes abortion but supports its legality.

Tran's legislation, which failed in a House of Delegates subcommittee on Monday, would have loosened a state law dealing with late-term abortions. Under existing law, abortions are only allowed in the third trimester if three doctors certify that the mother's life or health is at a severe risk.

Tran's bill would have allowed one doctor to certify such abortions and would have lowered the standard for determining risk to the mother. The current law says doctors must determine a pregnancy would "substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman." Tran's bill would have removed the phrase "substantially and irremediably."

House Republicans mentioned Kaine's position on the floor Friday morning.

Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, said House Democrats should be clear about where they stand on the legislation.

"If you're a co-patron and wish to get off, you still can," Bell said, noting that Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond has already distanced herself from the bill she attached her name to.

Tran spoke about the bill from the floor for the first time Friday, saying she regrets that the debate surrounding it has been "politicized." She said she was "simply caught off guard" by the questions during the hearing that led her to say her bill would allow abortions for mental health reasons up until the moment of birth.

"Simply put infanticide is illegal. And House Bill 2491 does not change this," Tran said. "It would continue to remain illegal. And I want to make clear that I strongly condemn those types of actions."

Tran said she's heard from women across Virginia who support her efforts to keep politicians out of women's health care decisions.

"I really appreciate the support that I have of some of my House of Delegates and Senate members as well as some of our state leaders," Tran said.

During his monthly radio appearance Wednesday on WTOP, Gov. Ralph Northam was asked about Tran's bill. Northam said that if a nonviable or badly deformed infant survived birth, a woman and her doctor could have a "discussion" about what to do next.

Northam's office says the governor was referring to rare cases of "severe fatal abnormalities."

Kaine told the reporters in Washington: "I'm not going to comment about comments."

Recommended for you

Load comments