CLEVELAND, July 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Gathered in Cleveland, the Republican Party has adopted what is being described as the most pro-life platform in the 162-year history of the GOP.
The 2016 Republican Party platform strengthened its pro-life plank to call – for the first time – for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, banning dismemberment abortion, opposing assisted suicide, halting the Obama administration's transgender restroom edit, restoring the traditional definition of marriage, and recognizing pornography as a public health hazard.
The bustling crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland approved the official statement of the party's policy prescriptions by voice vote on Monday, drawing praise from pro-life and pro-family leaders nationwide.
More pro-life than ever
The 2016 platform reiterates the GOP's support for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, clarifying that the 14th Amendment protects unborn children from being deprived of life, liberty of property without due process of law. That plank has been part of every Republican platform since 1980, when the Grand Old Party met in Detroit to nominate Ronald Reagan for president.
However, the party made history by encouraging states to defund Planned Parenthood – the nation's largest abortion provider – by name, as well as further penalizing the sale of fetal organs. The platform reads:
We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.
The GOP also backs efforts “to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.”
The platform, which mentions “abortion” 37 times, formally supports state and federal laws prohibiting “the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb.”
Six states have banned dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, which account for 95 percent of all second-trimester abortions.
Although the Democrats have yet to officially vote on their 2016 platform, draft copies show it will be the most radically pro-abortion in that party's history – a fact the Republican platform notes.
“The Democratic Party is extreme on abortion,” the platform says. “Democrats’ almost limitless support for abortion, and their strident opposition to even the most basic restrictions on abortion, put them dramatically out of step with the American people.”
The platform strongly supports parental rights, opposing “school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception.” New York City schools distributed 12,721 doses of Plan B, the morning after pill, without parental approval in 2012 alone.
Marriage and restroom privacy
Delegates maintained their opposition to judicial activism throughout the document, particularly committing the party to support marriage. “We do not accept the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage,” the platform reads, “and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”
For the first time, the document also mentions the issue of transgender restroom, shower, and intimate facilities use in public accommodations. The platform lambasts the Obama administration officials' “unconstitutional expansion” into every facet of American life, from ObamaCare “to school restroom policies.”
“Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues,” the document says. “We salute the several states which have filed suit against it.”
Praise from pro-life and pro-family leaders
“This platform includes a strong affirmation of life, marriage, and religious liberty. The platform calls for the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the repeal of ObamaCare. It calls for the repeal of the 1954 Johnson amendment that seeks to prevent churches and pastors from endorsing candidates,” said Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel. “The platform rejects the LGBT agenda and calls for action against activist judges. Paul Singer's attempt to push same-sex marriage and the LGBT agenda was soundly defeated.”
The socially liberal billionaire attempted to launch a fight over the platform's stance on same-sex “marriage” and transgender issues, but his representative was soundly defeated by the 112-member platform committee that included Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
The final document improves upon the GOP's longstanding commitment to life, said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Notably, Republicans moved to advocate for the codification of the Hyde Amendment, longstanding bipartisan legislation which protects the conscience rights of taxpayers by ensuring public funds are not used for abortion on-demand. The new Democratic Party platform, on the other hand, supports repeal of this consensus policy.”
“The Republican platform has always been strong when it comes to protecting unborn children, their mothers, and the conscience rights of pro-life Americans,” said Dannenfelser.
Representatives of the Donald Trump campaign reportedly took a hands-off approach to the platform. Social conservative David Barton, who served on the committee, told the New York Times, “His guys have not shown up and said, 'Change this, change that.'”