GOP Platform Renews Call for 14th Amendment Protection for Unborn

By Matt Cover and Pete Winn | August 21, 2012 | 6:35pm EDT

( – As Republican platforms have since 1984, the Republican National Platform being drafted in Tampa, Fla., this week calls for a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution and for legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment protects unborn children.

The 14th Amendment requires states to give all persons equal protection of the law. Thus, the Republican pro-life plank means the Republican Party believes states must protect the rights of the unborn just as they protect the rights of the born.

The draft of the pro-life section of the new GOP platform reads much like it did in the 1984 platform:

-- “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.”

New to the platform since 2008 are planks calling for strong enforcement of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BIPA), sex-selection abortions and embryonic stem-cell research.

Though Republicans mentioned BIPA in 2008, in 2012 they are calling for civil and criminal penalties against health-care providers “who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death is intended.”

In addition, the GOP spelled out other pro-life positions more clearly:

-- “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 the U.S. House of Representatives 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 USC 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.”

President Ronald Reagan. (Photo: : Reagan Library and Archives)

The Republican statement of policy principles places the GOP on record as seeking to protect young girls from exploitation through parental consent requirements; by affirming “our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy”; and by saluting those who provide counseling and adoption alternatives.

Dan McConchie, vice president of the American Life League, told that the revised pro-life section is part of an overall effort to streamline the Republican Party’s platform.

“In the entire platform they did some condensing, to try to make it not quite so long, not quite as wordy,” McConchie said. “They maintained all the important planks on the life issues, however, whether on abortion or destroying human embryos for research or human cloning or end-of-life issues, in their efforts to try to make a shorter, cleaner document.”

The GOP platform has included language endorsing a human life amendment since 1976.

Since 1984, which was drafted during President Ronald Reagan’s re-election effort, the platform has called for both a human life amendment and for legislation clarifying that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution applies to unborn children and grants them equal protection under the law.

The 1984 platform stated: “The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We therefore reaffirm our support for 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 the use of public revenues for abortion and will eliminate funding for organizations which advocate or support abortion. We commend the efforts of those individuals and religious and private organizations that are providing positive alternatives to abortion by meeting the physical, emotional, and financial needs of pregnant women and offering adoption services where needed.”

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