GOP Platform Panel Keeps Tough Stance on Abortion

A GOP committee approved drafted language that calls for a constitutional ban on abortion without addressing exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape

By Emily Feldman
|  Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012  |  Updated 7:17 AM EDT
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GOP Backs Tough Anti-Abortion Platform

AP

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, chair of the committee, said that the platform would not outline cases in which abortion should be permitted.

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Republicans in Tampa, Fla. voted Tuesday on a draft of anti-abortion language that calls for a constitutional ban on abortions, but does not indicate whether exceptions could be made for victims of rape or incest.

The language proposed and approved by the GOP's platform committee—a group that articulates the party's stance on issues ranging from abortion to foreign policy—closely mirrored language adopted by the party in 2008 and 2004.

"The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the platform draft states, The Associated Press reported. "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."

Republican officials said that granular details, including any exceptions to a blanket ban, could be left to the states. GOP delegates will vote on, and likely approve, the complete platform at next week's convention.

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chair of the committee drafting the language, said that the platform would not outline cases in which abortion should be permitted, according to the Washington Post.

"We just affirm our belief that human life should be protected and supported and we call for a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which has been part of the platform for, I think, 20 years," he told the Post.

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Earlier in the year, McDonnell vigorously supported a controversial abortion law proposed in Virginia that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion. But after facing a backlash over concerns that the procedure was too invasive, McDonnell asked lawmakers to amend the "informed consent" bill that he eventually signed into law.

According to the Post, the 2012 platform that McDonnell is helping to shape includes a "salute" to states like Virginia that have taken steps to dissuade more women from having abortions.

The Republican stance on abortion has remained consistent over the last eight years. The 2008 platform also stated support for an unborn child's "fundamental individual right to life" and "a human life amendment to the Constitution," as well as opposition to the use of public funds for abortions. It did not mention exceptions for rape, though many party leaders, including Mitt Romney, have expressed support for such an exception.

The more granular details have come into the spotlight this week after Republican Rep. Todd Akin came under fire from prominent members of his own party for arguing that a rape exception was not necessary since women typically do not get pregnant from rape. He later apologized for his remarks, but vowed to stay in a U.S. Senate race he's been advised to leave.

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McDonnell told the Washington Post that Akin's remarks "do not reflect my views, or I think the views of this platform committee."

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