Written in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday ahead of the party's convention on Aug. 27-30, the Republican platform committee statement reads:
"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. 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."
The platform's language was based on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (passed on May 4, 2011 by the US House of Representatives) which seeks to prevent the US government from funding or subsidizing any health care which includes abortion coverage. The House bill, currently stalled in the Senate, was co-sponsored by 11 Democrats and 227 Republicans including current Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
An RNC spokesperson, in a response to the Huffington Post when asked if Republicans would consider including an exception for rape, said "Our platform language is the same [as] it's been in 2004 and 2008. It's a strong pro-life position that doesn't get into granular specifics. We leave those to the states."
Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) said in a statement, "I believe this is a mistake because it fails to recognize the views of pro-choice Republicans like myself. Even while I am pro-choice, I respect those who have a different opinion on this very difficult and sensitive issue. Our party platform should make the same concession to those of us who believe in a woman's right to choose."
The party also approved a plank supporting abstinence-only education, affirming its position from 2008 which states, "We renew our call for replacing 'family planning' programs for teens with increased funding for abstinence education, which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and expected standard of behavior."
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement: "We want choices - choices that put us in control of our careers, our families, our bodies, and our health. The fact that the human life amendment is even considered to be a part of the GOP’s platform clearly demonstrates that the Republican Party is out of the mainstream - somewhere American women don’t want to be."
Thirty-nine new abortion restrictions have been enacted by states so far in 2012, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Three states have limited access to medication abortion, according to the Institute's Aug. 1, 2012 study titled "Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: State Trends at Midyear, 2012." Three states have enacted measures that ban abortion either at 18 or 20 weeks post-fertilization, prior to fetal viability. Four additional states have "moved to limit coverage of abortion in the health exchanges that will be established as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, bringing to 20 the number of states limiting abortion coverage in the exchanges."
The Democratic National Committee, in its 2008 party platform, said "we oppose... attempts to undermine a woman's ability to make her own life choices and obtain reproductive health care, including birth control. We will end health insurance discrimination against contraception and provide compassionate care to rape victims. We will never put ideology above women's health."
Laura Bassett, "Todd Akin's Abortion Position Reflects GOP Platform," huffingtonpost.com, Aug. 21, 2012
Elizabeth Chan, "No Choice, No Exceptions," democrats.org, Aug. 21, 2012
Michael Cooper, "GOP Approves Strict Anti-Abortion Language in Party Platform," nytimes.com, Aug. 21, 2012
Guttmacher Institute, "Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: State Trends at Midyear, 2012," guttmacher.org, Aug. 1, 2012
James Hohmann, "GOP Rejects Rape Exception in Platform," politico.com, Aug. 21, 2012
Glen Johnson, "Republican Party Approves Strict Anti-Abortion Platform, Earning Rebuke from Scott Brown," boston.com, Aug. 21, 2012
Christopher Smith, "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," govtrack.us, Jan. 20, 2011
Josh Voorhees, "GOP Approves Abortion Plank with No Exception for Rape," slate.com, Aug. 21, 2012
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