The Nevada Republican Party is no longer in line with the Republican National Committee on the issue of abortion. The western state decided to strip pro-life language on abortion out of its party platform, making it at odds with the national GOP, which has had a strong pro-life position since the days of Ronald Reagan.
The decision by Nevada Republicans may make it harder for the state to land the 2016 Republican presidential convention, as Nevada is one of a handful of states vying for the spot.
Don Nelson of Nevada Right to Life, told LifeNews, “On Saturday the NV Republican party decided to drop its pro-life plank and party chairman Mike McDonald said that abortion is a small issue. It’s not small now. It’s being reported all over Nevada and McDonald and the NV Republicans just told pro-lifers all over the state that their issue and the killing of 56 million preborn children, does not matter to him and his party and that the NV Republicans will take our vote, but that we can’t count on them.”
“Nothing could be further from the truth. Republicans in NV have been friends of life and this sends the wrong message to their base. The fact is that over 70 percent of republicans are pro-life and a many of them hold their nose and vote for republicans because they have are the pro-life party. Events like this do nothing but further depress the NV Republican vote,” Nelson said. “The NV Republicans at the convention are overlooking the fact that on abortion pro-life is the new normal. Gallup is finding in their last series of polling that more Americans say they are pro-life than pro-choice and that almost 60 percent of Americans would ban all abortions.”
Amid raucous debate, Nevada Republican Party conventioneers on Saturday stripped opposition to gay marriage and abortion from the party platform and endorsed Gov. Brian Sandoval for governor in the June 10 primary despite misgivings by conservatives, his criticism of the process and his absence from the meeting.
By a show of hands, convention-goers adopted the platform as proposed by a separate committee without the two planks on marriage and abortion, following the Clark County GOP’s lead in removing hot-button social issues from the party’s statement of its principles. Some 520 delegates attended the convention, but less than half were present when the platform was adopted at about 7:30 p.m. Little debate preceded the vote, a far contrast to earlier in day.
State party Chairman Michael McDonald said it was a successful convention at the end of the day.
“I think it was about inclusion, not exclusion,” McDonald said, referring to the platform. “This is where the party is going.”
“The issue was how can we back out of people’s personal lives,” said Dave Hockaday of Lyon County, who sat on the platform committee. “We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact.”
The past document also described the party as “pro-life,” or against abortion, a stance most Republicans still agree with.
In August 2012, Republicans at the 2012 GOP convention approved yet another solidly pro-life platform on the issue of abortion, which retains the language supporting a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution that has been a part of it since 1980.
The platform, on abortion, reads as follows:
THE SANCTITY AND DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE
Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of 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 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 or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.
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Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion, permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by exacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties to health care providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives and abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a revision of federal law 42 U.S.C. 289.92 to bar the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
We also salute the many states that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose live, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly applauded the party for keeping its pro-life plank intact again.
“The pro-life platform is absolutely excellent,” Schlafly told The Daily Caller. “The heart of it is identical to the pro-life platform we have had since the 1984 convention in Dallas. It says that the unborn child has a fundamental, individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
“The pro-life plank of the platform is the same one we elected Ronald Reagan on in his 49-state victory,” she told TheDC. “It is really not controversial in the Republican Party anymore. It is just a blind statement and, I think, one of the things we have done to make the Republican Party pro-life. Almost all of our candidates in 2010 were pro-life, and they are again this year.”
James Bopp, Co-chairman of the Subcommittee on Restoring Constitutional Government for the Republican National Committee, emailed LifeNews the background of the pro-life position:
Since 1980, the Republican Party Platform has endorsed the adoption of “a Human Life Amendment” to protect unborn life and to reverse Roe v. Wade. Carl Anderson, now head of the Knights of Columbus of the U.S., and I drafted this plank, and it has remained the same and in the platform since then. In addition, I was Co-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Restoring Constitutional Government of the Platform Committee which readopted this platform plank this year.In 1980, there were dozens of different versions of a Human Life Amendment then pending in Congress. The approaches included a state’s rights version, one reversing the right to abortion, one endorsing restoring personhood, one permitting abortion only to save the life of the mother and some allowing abortion in instances of rape and incest.The Republican Party plank endorsing a Human Life Amendment does not take a position on which version of a Human Life Amendment should eventually be adopted. We leave that decision to Congress and the people of the United States at that time. Thus, we do not take a position on which exceptions should be included in a Human Life Amendment.
On the other hand, the Democratic National Committee has officially rejected an effort by pro-life Democrats to get the party to include them in its platform that calls for keeping unlimited abortions legal and paid for at taxpayer expense.