California Republican Party Keeps Pro-Life Platform, For Now

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 20, 2011   |   3:58PM   |   Sacramento, CA

The California Republican Party has turned back efforts by pro-abortion members to water down the current pro-life platform of the GOP, which, nationally, supports a Human Life Amendment to protect unborn children.

Mike Spence of the California Pro-Life Council shares more about the battle pro-life advocates have faced in the Golden State within the party.

“The pro-life plank in the Republican platform is safe for now,” he explains. “Conservative leaders, including three of California ProLife Council’s vice presidents whom sit on the platform committee, traveled from all over to come to Los Angeles for the California Republican Party Convention this past weekend.”

“Some in attendance were there in  an attempt to remove traditional planks from the party platform, those including the pro-life plank,” he said. “They were not successful in doing this at the convention. But the fight is not over yet. In the spring the GOP will hold a spring convention in Burlingame where the platform will be up for a vote amongst all the delegates.”

The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported on the battle and said language proposed by the liberals within the party would have watered down a host of planks in the platform, including the pro-life one. Supporters of the changes claimed emphasizing economic issues would help the GOP do better in a state where Republicans haven’t won many statewide elections for top offices in years.

Wealthy GOP donor Charles T. Munger Jr. led the charge but the California Republican Party Platform Committee defeated it and approved an updated version of the current platform.

“The platform committee reversed the horrendous decisions of the drafting committee and restored core principles of the party platform,” Spence told the newspaper. “It’s proof that people that care about issues can beat money.”

Hector Barajas, a supporter of watering down the platform responded to the newspaper and said, “The platform committee made its decision and recommendation and now it’s up to the membership to have the final say. We can have disagreements within families and we can have disagreements within friends and each side will continue to advocate for its priorities in a respectful way.”

The Republican Party’s platform is a strongly pro-life document that says:

Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which 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. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.

We have made progress. The Supreme Court has upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. States are now permitted to extend health-care coverage to children before birth. And the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law; this law ensures that infants who are born alive during an abortion receive all treatment and care that is provided to all newborn infants and are not neglected and left to die. We must protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including pregnancy care centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Respect for life requires efforts to include persons with disabilities in education, employment, the justice system, and civic participation. In keeping with that commitment, we oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society….

The platform stands in stark contrast to the pro-abortion plank Democrats approved in 2008.

“The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right,” the platform reads. The party has removed any language calling for abortions to be “rare,” or even “safe,” preferring to concentrate on keeping them legal.

“The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empowers people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions,” the platform reads.

It also provides the party and Obama with political cover by saying it supports childbirth and helping pregnant women.

“The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs,” it concludes on abortion.

Previously, the head of Democrats for Life of America told she was unhappy with the platform language. The organization had hoped for a unity statement acknowledging the dissent of large numbers of pro-life Democrats.