Republican Party Activists Say They Will Keep GOP Pro-Life on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
August 6, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Hundreds of prominent GOP activists met in Washington over the last four days for their annual summer meeting. With a presidential race and a battle over the party’s platform coming up next year, several of the partisans said they would work overtime to keep the Republican Party’s official pro-life stance in place.
Delegates to the Republican convention in Minneapolis next year will reconsider the party’s 93-page platform that opposes abortion and supports President Bush’s policy against using tax dollars to fund embryonic stem cell research.
The current GOP position on abortion advocates a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution that would afford legal protection to unborn children throughout pregnancy.
"As a country, we must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the platform reads.
The Republican Party has supported a pro-life amendment to the Constitution since 1976, the first convention after the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Some pro-life advocates are concerned the platform could be watered down if pro-abortion ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is nominated as the party’s standard bearer for the presidential election. Should Giuliani get the GOP nod, he would be the first pro-abortion Republican to be the nominee since President Gerald Ford in 1976.
But pro-life advocates such as Jim Bopp, a leading pro-life attorney and an Indiana member of the Republican National Committee, say they will fight to keep the GOP pro-life.
"Evangelical and pro-life Catholics are a critical part of the GOP’s electoral coalition," Bopp told the Washington Times. "The GOP cannot win in 2008 without their enthusiastic support."
Still, Bopp warned that whether the Republican Party will move away from its pro-life position "will be determined by who is nominated for president."
"Nominating Giuliani would seriously jeopardize the support of evangelicals and pro-life Catholics and would trigger a fight within the GOP on the pro-life plank and other matters related to social issues that would cripple the party," he told the Times.
Longtime Oklahoma RNC member Bunny Chambers was more forceful in her comments to the newspaper about a potential move away from the pro-life perspective — "Not as long as I’m in this party."
But Rhode Island RNC member Robert Manning told the Times that moving away from stressing pro-life issues on a national level makes sense in an election that will likely revolve around non-related issues and foreign policy.
Convention delegates like him could try to force the party to water down the platform in an effort to reach out to pro-abortion voters.
Some of the Republican presidential candidates have addressed the issue.
Tommy Thompson was the most recent when he said at last weekend’s debate that a GOP presidential nominee who supports abortion would cause problems for "the party of pro-life."
Last month, Mitt Romney said that only a pro-life Republican would help the party win next year. "I think we can’t win the presidency without a pro-life, pro-family Republican," he said.
“I expect that evangelical Christians who believe in life and family values are going to vote for someone who shares their views and has a real prospect of being nominated by our party and becoming president,” Romney added.
Sam Brownback’s campaign has also addressed the issue as well and says he supports keeping the platform pro-life.
Polling data confirms abortion is a winning issue for GOP presidential candidates who are pro-life.
Post-election polling after the 2004 presidential elections found that President Bush’s pro-life stance gave him an edge over pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry.
A 2004 Wirthlin Worldwide post-election poll found that 39 percent of voters said abortion affected the way they voted for president. Twenty-four percent of voters cast their ballots for President Bush while 15% voted for Kerry, giving Bush a 9 percent advantage on the issue of abortion.
Eight percent of voters in the Wirthlin poll indicated abortion was the "most important" issue affecting their votes and Bush won among those voters by a six to two percent margin, leading Kerry by four percentage points among the most intense abortion voters.
Looking more at the GOP platform, it also states the party’s opposition to funding abortions with tax dollars, providing practical support to pregnant women, "for whose difficult situation we have only compassion."
The platform lauds crisis pregnancy centers, promotes removing barriers to adoption, and backs parental notification before teenagers can have an abortion.
The Republican platform also takes positions on assisted suicide and stem cell research.
It backs the Bush administration’s effort to ensure that federally-controlled drugs can’t be used in assisted suicides in Oregon. All of the patients who have died under the state’s lone pro-suicide law have used such drugs.
The GOP platform also includes language backing President Bush’s August 2001 policy prohibiting the federal funding of any new embryonic stem cell research. He has vetoed two bills that would have forced taxpayers to fund the destructive and ineffective 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.
Related web sites:
Republican Party platform – https://www.2004nycgop.org/platform/2004platform.pdf