Obama Camp Dupes Media on Non-Existent Abortion Controversy in Republican Platform
This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published on August 22, 2012 on Breitbart.com.
President Obama’s team took misleading politics to a new low yesterday, vilifying pro-life Republicans and the GOP’s longstanding platform language on the sanctity of life.
Yesterday the Platform Committee of the Republican Party went through the GOP platform, as the Republican National Convention is set to convene and nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to be the next president and vice president of the United States. As part of that examination, the party approved the following language:
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.
Constitutional amendments are extremely difficult to enact, requiring two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states. But no reasonable person can fault a pro-life party from seeking to protect the most defenseless among us in the Supreme Law of the Land; it is a worthy goal of a nation that values innocent life.
And some legal experts–including some conservatives–argue that the relevant Section Five of the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to the unborn. But there are perfectly plausible legal arguments that the Fourteenth Amendment authorizes pro-life legislation over the states, and surely a conservative pro-life party should push for such legislation and prepare to defend it in court.
The Republican Party has long recognized that Roe v. Wade is a judicial abomination. That controversial 1973 Supreme Court case invented out of thin air a constitutional right to abortion, despite the fact that the word “abortion” is nowhere found in the Constitution, and our brightest legal minds somehow bumbled along for 184 years without noticing this right written in invisible ink. So the GOP platform affirms the moral standard of restoring protection for life in our nation’s laws.
Obama’s team is trying to make this language scandalous, by pointing out that it doesn’t have an explicit exception for victims of rape. But the fact is, there’s never been language about rape either way in the platform. Some Republicans who self-identify as pro-life believe there should be exceptions to abortion restrictions in cases of rape or incest. Other Republicans say that, even in such tragic and criminal circumstances, a human life has been created; and while the despicable father should be severely punished, the innocent child must be protected. Because of this range of opinion, the GOP platform is silent on exceptions to accommodate those on both sides.
Yet in Orwellian fashion, Obama’s allies say this silence is somehow an explicit refusal to allow exceptions for rape. The Obama campaign has disingenuously dubbed this pro-life plank the Akin Amendment, trying to capitalize on a recent political story, although Congressman Todd Akin had nothing whatsoever to do with this language in the platform. Even the New York Times acknowledges this language has been in the party platform for many years.
Yet you’d never know it from listening to many liberals in the press. CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux hosted their political reporter Peter Hamby, who said Mitt Romney’s campaign “allowed this language to go through”–meaning the language in every platform since Ronald Reagan.
Tony Perkins, president of the pro-life Family Research Council (FRC) and a Louisiana GOP delegate to the convention and member of the Platform Committee, tells Breitbart News, “The Republican Party is a pro-life party. There was no discussion on the floor about changing the pro-life language in the platform. This is a settled, non-controversial issue in the Republican Party.”
FRC is heavily represented at the convention, supporting life, marriage, and religious liberty, as it is every cycle.
Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at FRC who served as vice chairman of the 2008 Platform Committee and helped oversee the pro-life language in that presidential election year, added, “Anyone who supported the commonsense pro-life 2008 platform should be perfectly comfortable with the essentially-identical pro-life language in the 2012 platform.”
Through its spokesman, JP Duffy, FRC explained to Breitbart News about the remaining pro-life language in the platform: “The approval of the ban on partial birth abortion is consistent with previous years since the ban was passed in 2003 and was upheld by the Supreme Court. Supplemental language added to the platform pertained to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which became law several years ago but is not properly enforced.”
David Christensen, director of government relations with FRC, adds that the platform also addresses newer abortion controversies: “The platform calls for a ban on using abortion to select the baby’s gender by aborting opposite-gender children, and a ban on abortions for late-term pregnancies once the baby can feel the physical pain of abortion.”
Regarding Obamacare, the following language was also added to the platform to combat the infamous HHS abortion mandate:
“The Obama administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We however affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women and we stand firmly against it.”
The Obama campaign is attempting to make a story where none exists. Barack Obama voted against the born-alive law, which protects children born after an attempted abortion, as well as these other issues supported by the vast majority of Americans. The Republican Party is simply staying true to its historical roots as a pro-life party since the days of Reagan, and the platform continues to articulate those policies.
But don’t expect that story from many in the press.