by Steven Ertelt
August 27, 2004
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Republican Party’s platform committee have adopted a platform that retains the party’s long-standing pro-life position and supports President Bush on embryonic stem cell research. But, one abortion advocate says the committee prevented her from testifying.
Elizabeth Cavendish, interim president of NARAL, attended the Wednesday platform committee vote. She says she was denied the chance to present her views to the group.
"In a statement she had hoped to offer," NARAL says Cavendish would have challenged the Republican Party to speak more on pro-life issues at the convention and to bring the Human Life Amendment to the November ballot for a vote.
In taking about the party’s pro-life views, "President Bush … should begin by telling Americans about his record on choice during the past four years, including his effort to stack the federal courts with anti-choice judges such as the lawyer who chaired the platform committee that first adopted this plank in 1976," Cavendish would have said.
However, pro-life attorney Jim Bopp, a member of the platform committee, says Cavendish was not singled out and prevented from speaking.
"The platform committee meeting did not include testimony from anyone," Bopp told LifeNews.com.
"Public input was received over the last few weeks through many ways," such as in-person meetings with platform committee members and leaders and public comments through a web site on the Internet, Bopp explained.
"NARAL — which has endorsed Kerry — was just being childish and grandstanding," Bopp said about the pro-abortion group’s complaints.
This week, the platform committee 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."
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.
The proposed platform goes to the full convention for ratification on Monday, without further debate.