GOP Abortion Plank Makes No Exception for Rape

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 21 2012 1:25 PM

GOP Approves Abortion Plank With No Exception for Rape

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Republicans met this morning in Tampa to lay the groundwork for the party's official convention platforms, and the big takeaway involves the party's abortion plank. In short, the language approved by the platform committee calls for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no mention of exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

The full convention will meet Monday to formally sign off on the platform, and Republicans are stressing that the language paints in broad strokes to give states more leeway. But, as the New York Times explains, that's all well and good but it's hard to see how the plank leaves room for exceptions of any kind: It states that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."

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More from the draft language, which was first reported by CNN earlier today:

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.

Republicans have included similar language in past platforms, so the news doesn't exactly come as a shock. Nonetheless, the timing is particularly awkward for the party given most of the establishment is doing its best to distance itself from Senate candidate Todd Akin, who at least one news outlet's headline writers has dubbed "the 'legitimate rape' rep." (The Huffington Post, meanwhile, is currently running its story about the GOP abortion plank above a giant picture of a hanger.)

As Slate's Dave Weigel reported, a bid to include a pro-civil unions plank in the GOP platforms was handily defeated earlier Tuesday.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.