Pro-lifers ask delegates not to change GOP abortion platform  - Catholic Courier
A person walks past a sign. A file photo shows a Republican National Committee sign. The GOP is expected to weaken its anti-abortion platform at its July 15-18 convention in Milwaukee, but pro-life advocates are pushing back. (OSV News photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Pro-lifers ask delegates not to change GOP abortion platform 

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — Amid reports that members of the Republican National Committee are poised to change its written stance on abortion at the direction of former President Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, pro-life activists have asked delegates not to remove opposition to abortion from the party’s platform. 

While it remains to be seen what particular changes may be made to the written platform, the RNC is widely expected to consider moderating its stance, removing language predating the Dobbs decision that states the Republican Party supports “a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the (14th) Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth” and remove a call on Congress to pass a 20-week federal ban on abortion. 

The Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned prior precedent declaring abortion as a constitutional right and returned the matter back to the legislative branch. 

Politico reported July 2 that “two hardline anti-abortion delegates” were stripped of their positions on the platform committee, prior to the party’s platform meeting, in favor of Trump campaign loyalists. The RNC also reversed a decades-long precedent, opting to write its platform behind closed doors, rather than broadcast their meeting to reporters, supporters or other viewers. 

Trump: Abortion should be legislated by the states 

Trump in April announced his position that abortion should be left to the states to legislate and lashed out at critics of that position on social media, including Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. 

In a letter led by Advancing American Freedom, a political advocacy group launched by former Vice President Mike Pence, pro-life activists wrote, “Since the 1980 convention that nominated President Ronald Reagan, the RNC platform has been clear: Republicans stand for life.” 

“For half a century, pro-life activists have stood strong against withering cultural critics, who urged us to move on from protecting the most vulnerable amongst us and overturning Roe v. Wade. Thanks to that bravery, perseverance, and dedication in defending the sanctity of human life, Roe now rests on the ash heap of history, a monument to the pro-life movement’s fifty-year battle to protect life,” the letter said. “Today, however, rumors continue to swirl that some in the party want to wash their hands of the fight for life and surrender conservative principles in the name of political expediency and, even worse, lock pro-life Republicans out of their platform meetings.” 

The activists’ letter argued the RNC platform is “more than a messaging document. It is the roadmap to the future and a commitment to the American voters of what it means to be a Republican. Most importantly, it is a promise to unborn Americans to never stop fighting for their right to life.” 

The letter asked RNC delegates “to support pro-life planks and vote down any platform that weakens the party’s commitment to the cause of life.” 

Signatories on the letter included Paul Teller, executive director of Advancing American Freedom; Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life; Lila Rose, president of Live Action; Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life Action; Jeff Bradford, president of Human Coalition Alliance; Craig DeRoche, president of Family Policy Alliance; and Dannenfelser. 

Pro-lifers sought assurances that the pro-life plank would not be gutted 

Dannenfelser said in a July 2 statement, “If the Trump campaign decides to remove national protections for the unborn in the GOP platform, it would be a miscalculation that would hurt party unity and destroy pro-life enthusiasm between now and the election.” 

“For over a month, the pro-life movement has sought assurances from the Trump campaign that it will not gut the pro-life plank of the platform, which has for 40 years asserted a 14th Amendment justification for opposing the human rights tragedy of our time,” she said. “We are now just two business days away from the platform committee meeting and no assurances have been made. Instead, every indication is that the campaign will muscle through changes behind closed doors.” 

Dannenfelser, whose group works to elect pro-life candidates to public office, added, “For decades, passionate pro-life activists have been the grassroots backbone of the Republican Party. They believed the Republican Party had an ironclad commitment to protect the unborn. This alliance is at risk of being severely weakened next week in Milwaukee.” 

Chelsey Youman, Human Coalition Action’s national legislative adviser, added her voice in a statement about the letter, emphasizing, “There is so much work to be done right now to protect innocent lives across America and serve vulnerable women at risk of abortion.” 

“More than 2,800 innocent babies are violently killed every single day in the gravest human rights atrocity in history,” Youman said. “Pro-life Americans are ready to work like never before to win the elections that will result in pro-life policies. They will follow leaders who act boldly and will not compromise with the evil of abortion, and we urge the party to continue its strong track record of supporting the pro-life cause.” 

Trump blamed GOP’s 2022 midterm underperformance on abortion issue 

On several occasions, Trump has blamed the issue of abortion and pro-life voters for the Republican Party’s underperformance in the 2022 midterm election cycle. Analysts, by contrast, blamed in part quality issues with Republican campaigns in that cycle and Trump’s repeated, unproven claims of a stolen 2020 election for the party’s underperformance. 

However, several states have enacted abortion protections as the result of ballot measures since Dobbs: voters in Ohio, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont and Kansas either rejected new limitations on abortion or expanded legal protections for it. But abortion itself will be on the ballot again in several states in November, including Florida, Nevada and likely Arizona, where closely-watched races for the U.S. Senate are also taking place. 

Tags: Abortion, Life Issues
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