GOP prepares tough anti-abortion platform
By Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter
TAMPA, Florida (CNN) – The Republican Party is set to once again enshrine into its official platform support for “a human life amendment” to the Constitution that would outlaw abortion without making explicit exemptions for rape or incest, according to draft language of the platform obtained exclusively by CNN late Monday.
“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.”
The party will also reaffirm its opposition to federally-funded stem cell research and demand that the government “should not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage.”
Republicans have also inserted a “salute” to states pushing “informed consent” laws — an apparent reference to ultrasound bills that have moved through some state legislatures — “mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation.”
The platform draft is being closely guarded by party officials but was provided to CNN by a Republican source in Tampa.
The source cautioned that the document is still in draft form and must be approved by the full Platform Committee on Tuesday and by delegates to the Republican National Convention next week.
The GOP’s abortion plank faces scrutiny every four years, and this year’s document contains language similar to the platforms that were adopted by the party at their conventions in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
But the abortion issue has been thrust into the center of the presidential campaign as this year’s convention approaches, thanks to comments from Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, a U.S. Senate candidate, about abortion and “legitimate rape.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan sharply condemned Akin’s remarks and pledged that under a Romney administration, abortion would be allowed in the case of rape.
An exemption for rape, though, is not included in the platform set to be adopted by the party Romney will officially lead when he accepts the Republican nomination next week.
And Ryan, his vice presidential pick, has opposed exceptions for rape and voted alongside Akin in the House, though Ryan now says he defers to Romney’s position on the matter.
Debate over the abortion plank flared four years ago when John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee at the time, said he wanted to add language to the platform to recognize exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
That prompted angry finger-wagging from top social conservatives.
Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, chided McCain and said it would be “political suicide” for him to add language about exceptions for rape or incest in the abortion platform.