by Steven Ertelt
August 26, 2004
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Republican Party platform members turned back efforts by abortion advocates to water down the strong pro-life position the party has taken since 1976. They voted to retain language in the party platform advocating a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution that would afford legal protection to unborn children throughout pregnancy.
Members of the Republicans for Choice group were rebuffed in their efforts to add a so-called unity amendment, pointing out that some Republicans differ with the majority of the party on the issue.
Instead, platform writers adopted vague language noting that some Republicans differ on political issues but the party would "respect and accept that members of our party can have deeply held and sometimes differing views."
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a pro-life former national party chairman, objected to singling out abortion in the unity amendment. The less specific language was adopted on a 74-18 vote.
Attorney Jim Bopp, who has done legal work for numerous pro-life organizations, told LifeNews.com, the platform was "the strongest pro-life platform the Republican Party has ever adopted."
"The Republican Party is unified around its pro-life position. There was much less dissent on the pro-life issue than ever," Bopp explained.
But, Ann Stone, founder of Republicans for Choice, objected to the language and said the platform would alienate moderate voters.
"We are the margin of victory," Stone told the Houston Chronicle. "Our people have been civil and silent before. And they expect more of the same. But if we want to continue being the governing party, we are going to have to be more open-minded."
However, a study published by the Gallup Poll Special Report entitled "Public Opinion About Abortion — An In-Depth Review" said "the abortion issue has been an advantage for Republican candidates" for all six presidential elections from 1984 to 2000 because of the nominee’s pro-life position.
According to the Gallup, of the 14% of voters who said abortion was one of the most important issues in deciding whom to vote for in the 2000 presidential election, 58% supported Bush, while only 41% voted for pro-abortion candidate Al Gore.
The GOP platform also includes language backing President Bush’s August 2001 policy prohibiting the federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research.
"We strongly support the president’s policy that prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to encourage the future destruction of human embryos," the proposed language reads.
Despite objections to the policy as a so-called "ban," the Bush administration has spent $190 million funding the use of adult stem cells, which are considered a more ethical and effective alternative.
The proposed platform goes to the full convention for ratification on Monday, without further debate.