US Republicans Agree on Strict Anti-Abortion Platform
Miami. A US Republican panel on Tuesday approved a rigid anti-abortion amendment, without exclusions for cases of rape or incest, as part of the party’s platform to be unveiled at next week’s national convention.
The committee met in Tampa, Florida, where the party will gather to nominate Mitt Romney to the Republican ticket, amid a national furor after a lawmaker’s remarks about rape that has thrust abortion back into the spotlight.
The 110-member committee passed a “human life amendment” that would ban abortion and endow an “unborn child” with constitutional protections.
Committee members — many of whom, as President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign was quick to point out, are Romney backers — offered little debate and no new amendments to the platform, which embraced the same pro-life language of previous conventions in 2008, 2004 and 2000.
“I appreciate the good work that that committee did — in past platforms that has been hours of discussion — and I applaud the committee’s work in affirming our respect for human life,” said Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican platform committee. “Well done.”
CNN reported that it obtained a copy of the platform language, which stated that “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,” it added, according to CNN.
Democrats swiftly branded the plan the “Akin amendment,” in efforts to link it to what Romney himself was earlier forced to admit described as were Missouri congressman Todd Akin’s “offensive” and “inexcusable” comments.
“Today, Republican leaders passed the Akin amendment as part of their party platform, banning abortion for all women even in the case of rape,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement.
“Several Romney supporters and advisers were present and stood silently while this vote took place. This should come as no surprise, as Mitt Romney supported this exact language in the 2004 and 2008 Republican platforms and [his running mate] Paul Ryan fought to ban abortion even in cases of rape.”
The platform, which would still need ratification by the convention’s delegates, could stand at odds with Romney over the issue.
“Governor Romney and congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Monday.
Akin was abandoned by the Republican establishment after Sunday, when he said women rarely conceive as a result of a “legitimate rape” because their bodies have the capacity to prevent such a pregnancy.
He quickly apologized, saying his comment was “ill-conceived and it was wrong,” but on Tuesday he was still resisting pressure from within his own party not to stand in the Missouri Senate race.