GOP Adopts New Anti-Abortion Language
The draft states:
"Faithful to the 'self-evident' truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the draft platform declares. "We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
CNN said the GOP is expected to oppose federally-funded stem cell research, which includes abortion coverage. The draft also pushes for "informed consent" laws, calling for states to enforce mandatory waiting periods before abortions and "health-protective clinic regulation."
Despite, the language being nearly identical to the abortion language adopted in the last two presidential elections, the topic of rape and abortion has received substantial attention following Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's controversial comments on the issue. Akin caused an uproar when he claimed a woman's body could prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."
According to NPR, there was very little discussion between the 110-member committee on the issue, seeking to pass a constitutional amendment that gives added rights to the unborn. This would essentially ban abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. Tony Perkins, a delegate from the head of the Family Research Council, explained the party's stance and said the exceptions for rape and incest shouldn't be included in the GOP platform because the issues are too narrow. The document instead chooses to only outline broad government principles.
Reaching a quick decision on the language is a stark change from years prior, when the abortion section often "consumed hours of debate," according to Gov. Bob McDonnel of Virginia. Even with a general consensus, abortion is still expected to be hotly contested when discussing health-related provisions. The LA Times said Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have taken an opposing stance from the GOP party, refusing to oppose abortion in instances of rape.
The NY Times reported Romney would not be the first presidential candidate to disagree with his party's abortion views. In the 2008 presidential election, GOP candidate John McCain pressed for certain exceptions, as did George W. Bush, whose pro-life policies included exceptions of rape, incest or when the mother's life was threatened.
Delegates also approved language that seeks to outlaw drugs that end pregnancy post-conception, like RU-486. The document would not, however, ban Plan B, as it is considered a way to disrupt conception, not terminate a pregnancy.
In response, abortion rights advocates spoke out against the platform and shifted responsibility to GOP candidates Romney and Ryan.
From CBS News:
"Today, the Republican Party demonstrated again why Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are wrong for women in the U.S. The party's committee platform approved an anti-abortion plank that champions a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution without mentioning any exception for rape, incest or preservation of the health or life of the woman," said NOW president Terry O'Neill, in a statement. "Yet within the past 24 hours Romney-Ryan have indicated support for rape, incest and life of the woman exceptions to abortion restrictions. So, which is it? If in fact these candidates do support such exceptions, they should renounce the party's failure to include them in its 2012 platform."
An Obama campaign official followed suit, calling the issue "important to a number of women and the people in their lives" and a clear point of contrast with Romney and Ryan.
The document must be approved by the entire Platform Committee Tuesday and once more by delegates at next week's Republican National Convention.
Reach Supervising Executive Producer Amanda Martinez here.