2008 Republican Platform Addresses Conscience, Opposes Abortion in All Cases

By Rachel Walden — September 3, 2008

On August 13th, Christine blogged about the Democratic Party’s Platform document and its language on reproductive rights – chiefly, the “strong and unequivocal” support for Roe v. Wade, as well as support for affordable family planning services.

The Republican Party has now released its 2008 Platform [PDF], and includes vague language that could suggest limitations on affordable family planning along the lines of the recently leaked HHS proposal that would allow providers to define birth control as abortion. It states:

“We believe medicines and treatments should be designed to prolong and enhance life, not destroy it. Therefore, federal funds should not be used for drugs that cause the destruction of human life.”

Federal funds currently help support clinics across America that assist families in obtaining birth control. The document goes on to assert that:

“No health care professional — doctor, nurse, or pharmacist — or organization should ever be required to perform, provide for, or refer for a health care service against their conscience for any reason. This is especially true of the religious organizations which deliver a major portion of America’s health care, a service rooted in the charity of faith communities.”

This position not only restates a position similar to the proposed HHS rule on conscience, but suggests that state laws that would require Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception would be a target.

The Platform also includes a more explicit section on abortion, asserting that the Party:

“…affirm[s] that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life that cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

The document goes on to support parental notification requirements, salute “pregnancy care centers,” and to call abortion “a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life.” Although it claims that “we have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy” – perhaps in response to those who ask if women would be jailed if abortion were illegal – the Platform makes no mention even of those women whose lives would be in jeopardy without access to legal abortion.

5 responses to “2008 Republican Platform Addresses Conscience, Opposes Abortion in All Cases”

  1. The 14th amendment reads:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and

    subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States

    and the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any

    law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the

    United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty,

    or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within

    its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    The important words to take note of here are “All persons born or naturalized in the United States”…..there would be no way for them to make this apply to the unborn without actually amending the constitution. No matter what the reteric, an amendment to an amendment isn’t going to happen

  2. Jenn if you are not already a lawyer, my dear woman get to law school now. That is brilliant. I am so glad that you posted that note.

  3. I find the platform chilling, not only in its message as a whole, but in it’s total absence of mentioning abortion as a life-saving measure for the mother. I assume it doesn’t say anything, because the dominionists don’t want to alienate more centrist voters with their positions.

    As a woman who recently had a ectopic pregnancy, I’m frightened by the possibility of a GOP administration who would take such a basic, lifesaving procedure away from women, for no good reason at all!

  4. I’m not finding the bit about the Fourteenth Amendment in the platform you linked.

    What’s up with that?

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