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Republicans remove 'right to life' plank from party platform

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, praised the platform, saying it demonstrates that the Republican Party "remains strongly pro-life at the national level." / Credit: Screenshot/EWTN News in DepthWashington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 8, 2024 / 16:50 pm (CNA).The 2024 Republican National Convention's platform committee voted on Monday to adopt new language regarding abortion, removing a "right to life" plank and a call for a national law protecting unborn life from the party platform.The platform is an aspirational document that is drafted and approved by party delegates during election years. It is meant to outline the party's policy goals for the coming years.While previous versions of the document said that unborn children have a "fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed" and called for a constitutional amendment to guarantee that right, this year's platform uses much more moderate language and emphasizes the role of states in protectin...
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, praised the platform, saying it demonstrates that the Republican Party "remains strongly pro-life at the national level." / Credit: Screenshot/EWTN News in Depth

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jul 8, 2024 / 16:50 pm (CNA).

The 2024 Republican National Convention's platform committee voted on Monday to adopt new language regarding abortion, removing a "right to life" plank and a call for a national law protecting unborn life from the party platform.

The platform is an aspirational document that is drafted and approved by party delegates during election years. It is meant to outline the party's policy goals for the coming years.

While previous versions of the document said that unborn children have a "fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed" and called for a constitutional amendment to guarantee that right, this year's platform uses much more moderate language and emphasizes the role of states in protecting life.

It reads: "We proudly stand for families and life. We believe that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no person can be denied life or liberty without due process, and that the states are, therefore, free to pass laws protecting those rights."

The platform goes on to laud the overturn of Roe v. Wade and then express support for prenatal care, birth control, and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

"After 51 years, because of us, that power has been given to the states and to a vote of the people. We will oppose late-term abortion, while supporting mothers and policies that advance prenatal care, access to birth control, and IVF," the new document reads.  

The draft, which according to the Washington Post was approved in an 84-18 vote, was written by former President Donald Trump's campaign and adopted at his urging. 

The Trump campaign celebrated the platform's passage in a Monday statement in which they said it "articulates his [Trump's] vision to Make America Great Again in a way that is concise and digestible for every voter."

Since April, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee has consistently signaled his desire to keep abortion exclusively a state issue. During a televised debate last month with President Joe Biden, he asserted that the 2021 Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision that reversed Roe v. Wade means that abortion is now up to the states.

Leading pro-life Republicans have echoed this sentiment, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio saying in a Sunday CNN interview that "our platform has to reflect our nominee and our nominee's position actually happens to be one grounded in reality … His position on this has been the reality that you can't pass a federal law [protecting unborn life] even if we wanted to."

The reaction from the pro-life community, meanwhile, was mixed.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, praised the platform, saying it demonstrates that the Republican Party "remains strongly pro-life at the national level."

Kristi Hamrick, a representative for Students for Life Action, told CNA that while "not perfect" the platform represents "two very big wins" for the pro-life movement: acknowledging that the 14th Amendment protects all life, including unborn life, and condemning late-term abortion.

Hamrick said that she has been working with the Trump campaign and delegates to the Republican National Convention to stress the importance of the Republican Party prioritizing the protection of unborn life.

Even with a reduced legislative focus, Hamrick said there is a lot of important work a future Trump administration could do for the pro-life movement including reversing "a lot of weaponized federal policy" that she said is "prejudiced in favor of abortion."

"If we detangled and cut out the cancer of abortion and abortion-related programming from our federal budgets, we can have a healthier budget and a life-affirming budget." If Republicans were to achieve those wins under a Trump administration, Hamrick said it would constitute "a very vibrant and vigorous term."

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